COLUMBUS — On Sunday, March 4, the Twin Valley Southvarsity cheerleading squad finished in second place at the OASSA State Cheerleading and Dance competition. Coached by Chelsea Sorrell and Nicole Ehler, the girls ended the year as the Division 5 State Runners-up, losing to the repeating State Champion from Liberty Center.
The OASSA State Championship is a state competition which hosts all Ohio High School cheerleading teams. The teams are then judged on routine, including: difficulty, jumps, tumbling, energy, and overall performance. According to Twin Valley South coach Chelsea Sorrell, each school had to compete at a local regional competition before moving onto State.
“Most Preble County schools attended the competition at Stiver High School in Dayton. Judges then will critique your routines and hopefully advance your team on to the State Competition. After Twin Valley South qualified, our team went to work right away, fixing any criticism the judges had on our score sheets, hours of hard practice, and of course a lot of excitement. Twin Valley South hasn’t competed at the state level in the last three years of my coaching at Twin Valley,” she said.
“We competed against 10 other teams and placed second in the Division V State Competition, or like we like to say runners-up. Their performance was choreographed by myself, 2:30 minutes long, lots of tumbling passes and jumps – very difficult! They performed the best I’ve ever seen them perform. The girls competed at the Preble County Spirit Day competition this year and received first in both the Cheer and Dance Division, so we definitely wanted to maintain that status.
“The performance means a lot to not only myself and the team, but to our school. It is the best Twin Valley South has ever done at the State Competition in the Cheer Division. I’m extremely proud of the girls. They represented the sport, Twin Valley, and the community well! It was nice to bring back a trophy to the county!”
The Twin Valley South Panthers were not the only Preble County cheerleading squad who placed at the OASSA competition. Also in Division 5, the Preble Shawnee Arrows placed fourth, with the National Trail Blazers right behind them with eighth place. The Eaton Eagles Varsity Cheerleaders also competed, though they were in Division 3 and placed 18th.
Preble Shawnee Coach Jenny Foxbower said, “These girls work hard, they practice hard, and they compete hard. On top of two basketball games each week, they practice three times a week, and go to tumbling one time a week. Needless to say they are together five of the seven days in a week. To me, that shows they are 100 percent dedicated to becoming the best.
“Three years ago, when I decided to take the position of being a coach, my goals were high. I swore someday we would be state champions and the girls giggled. My first year we competed at state and placed 15th, last year we took fifth, and this year fourth. Proud would be an understatement. Preble Shawnee cheerleading is moving in the right direction and the best is yet to come!”
As for National Trail, this is Roxanne Laird’s first year coaching the varsity team, though she coached the youth program for 10 years. The team has great potential, she said, but suffered from a late start. The team also added five junior varsity girls, with little to no experience, to their competition team.
“The varsity girls choose to do this to increase our numbers and help build our program. I was very willing and proud of them for this, while knowing it would be hard to accomplish team goals. We worked very hard this season to get to the State championship. That was a team goal for us the entire season,” Laird explained.
“Despite several set backs, injuries, and adjustments to our team, including the day before regionals, we made it to compete at state. We also did not receive any help with choreography this year. The team and I worked together to pull out a routine, which overall ended up being pretty successful. The state competition was our personal best performance.
“We know we were lacking in some of the tumbling skills and experience that other teams have, so we were very happy to just be competing and placing for the experience,” she said. Most people have no idea what all these girls really do. They do much more than standing on the side lines of a game and smiling. It takes strength, hard work, and dedication.
“We do not have any seniors, so this was our building year and we are more than ready to come back stronger and better next year. We need to increase our tumbling skills and have plans to do that. We have a great group coming up and are excited to add them. We are looking forward to a very bright future for National Trail cheerleading!”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH