BOTF X Finalists

SAC, Sportsmanship

Battle of the Fans X: Meet the Finalists

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

January 24, 2022

Two past champions and a first-time applicant have earned opportunities to vie for the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s “Battle of the Fans X” championship recognizing the top high school student cheering section in Michigan, as awarded by the MHSAA’s Student Advisory Council.

Buchanan, Midland Dow and Traverse City West were selected as finalists by the Advisory Council from a group of nine semifinalists that took part in a series of challenges highlighting their sections over the last two weeks.

Members of the MHSAA staff will visit all three finalists over the next three weeks, producing articles about each section and videos of those sections in action, all to be published on the MHSAA’s Second Half website.

The winner will be selected by another vote by the 16-member Advisory Council, with consideration given to a public vote on the MHSAA’s social media channels. This year’s winner will be announced Feb. 18 and recognized March 25 during the Boys Basketball Semifinals at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.

Buchanan is a three-time BOTF champ (2013, 2018 and 2020) and has reached the final round for the fourth-straight competition. Traverse City West was the winner in 2016 and has been a semifinalist seven times since 2014. Midland Dow entered the competition this school year for the first time.

The MHSAA will visit the finalists for the following home boys basketball games (unless noted):

Jan. 28: Midland Dow vs Midland (at Midland High)
Feb. 4: Buchanan vs South Haven
Feb. 8: Traverse City West vs Ludington

Howell, North Muskegon and Spring Lake filled out the next three spots, while Imlay City, Petersburg Summerfield and Yale also were semifinalists.

“After the pandemic cancelled the competition in 2021, it’s no surprise that two schools with rich student section histories made the final three this year,” said Andy Frushour, the MHSAA’s director of brand management and advisor to the Student Advisory Council.

“The Herd from Buchanan and the Bleacher Creatures at Traverse City West have to be considered the favorites going into the final round. They have been in this position many times, winning four of the nine championships. But don’t sleep on Midland Dow; we could tell right away this first-time challenger would be a contender, and this section has been strong all year long.”

Battle of the Fans is organized by MHSAA staff and the Student Advisory Council. Schools were invited throughout the fall to submit short videos, via TikTok, of their cheering sections in action. The Advisory Council then selected nine semifinalists to accomplish a list of tasks showing off their sections over a 12-day span.

Semifinalists were required to complete five mandatory challenges, and up to a total of 20, and highlight them in a three-minute TikTok. The mandatory challenges focused on contest criteria: positive sportsmanship, student body participation, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of the group, student section leadership and overall fun. Descriptions of all 20 challenges are available on the MHSAA Website.

Let's meet the finalists: 

BuchananBUCHANAN - THE HERD

Follow on TikTok and Instagram

@theherd_bhs #MHSAABOTF2022 @mhsaasports ♬ The Nights - Avicii

Midland DowMIDLAND DOW

Follow on TikTok and Twitter

@dowstudentsection Herbs House 💛💚 semifinals #mhsaabotf2022 @mhsaasports ♬ this is what falling in love feels like - JVKE

Traverse City WestTRAVERSE CITY WEST - BLEACHER CREATURES

Follow on TikTok and Instagram

@tcwbleachercreatures 🚨ATTENTION WEST WINNERS🚨 💯FINALS IMMINENT💯 @mhsaasports #mhsaabotf2022 ♬ original sound - Tcw BC

Battle of the Fans is organized by MHSAA staff and the Student Advisory Council. Schools were invited throughout the fall to submit short videos, via YouTube, of their cheering sections in action. The Advisory Council then selected nine semifinalists to accomplish a list of tasks showing off their sections over a 12-day span.

Semifinalists were required to complete 10 challenges via their social media channels. Five mandatory challenges focused on contest criteria: positive sportsmanship, student body participation, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of the group, student section leadership and overall fun. Semifinalists then selected five elective challenges (taken from a list of 15 opportunities). Descriptions of all 20 challenges are available on the MHSAA Website.

The contest is sponsored in part by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, which promotes Michigan's locally-produced dairy products and nutrition education. Rules plus links to past years’ coverage of the contest can be found on the MHSAA's BOTF web page.

The Student Advisory Council is made up of eight seniors and eight juniors who each serve two-year terms. The Council acts as the voice of Michigan's student-athletes; it serves as a student sounding board for the MHSAA's Representative Council, assists in planning Sportsmanship Summits, Captains Clinics and other student leadership events; participates in a yearly focus group about the state of high school sports for Michigan State University's Institute for the Study of Youth Sports and assists with medal ceremonies at MHSAA championship events.

A record-tying 27 schools applied for this year’s contest, including 14 schools for the first time. Three semifinalists each were selected from the Class A, Class B and Class C/D applicants. See below for a compilation of highlights from all nine semifinalists:

@mhsaasports 🚨𝙱𝙰𝚃𝚃𝙻𝙴 𝙾𝙵 𝚃𝙷𝙴 𝙵𝙰𝙽𝚂 𝚇🚨Congrats to all 9 Semifinalists! #MHSAABOTF2022 #battleofthefans #letsgo #sportsmanship #MHSAA #fyp ♬ Let's go! - Official Sound Studio