2017-01-08 / Sports

Troy, Canton compete at District IV Competitive Spirit Championships

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BY LARRY DEKLINSKI

Sample Media Group Writer

COAL TOWNSHIP — Competitive cheerleading squads from Southern Columbia, Hughesville, Warrior Run, Milton and Montoursville qualified for the state championships at the District IV Competitive Spirit Championships Saturday afternoon at Shamokin Area Middle/High School.

Ten squads competed in three classes for the opportunity to compete Jan. 20-21.at the Giant Center in Hershey. The winners of large varsity, co-ed varsity and small varsity automatically advanced, as did the runner-up in small varsity and the squad with the next best score in either large varsity or co-ed. Williamsport, Canton, Shamokin, South Williamsport and Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech did not advance.

Squads had 2 1/2 minutes to perform a cheer and a music routine. Three judges calculated a final score based on difficultly and execution.

Southern Columbia coach Kenda Roth thought her squad included more difficult stunts than other teams. The Tigers placed first in small varsity with a score of 214, besting runner-up Hughesville by 43.5 points. The squad, which had the highest overall score of all teams, will return to Hershey after not competing last season.

“It’s just nice to be here after having off last year,” she said. “I thought we had a pretty good performance. We had a little miss in our pyramid, but other than that, our difficulty compared to other teams was there, which is really important, especially at the state level.”

Roth chalked up the squad’s success to choreography and pushing athletes to their limits while maintaining a clean routine. With only four seniors and a strong upcoming eighth-grade class, she said the future looks bright.

Warrior Run finished with a score of 196.5 after a strong performance in the co-ed class. Defenders' coach Kathay Alvarez said the squad had a great performance with very few flaws.

“I jammed packed this routine with hard skills,” she said. “I did not let up. I told them hit it or don’t hit it — and they hit it today.”

The first-year head coach said the squad worked hard and lauded their efforts as they dealt with changes in personnel and tweaks in the routine.

Despite not advancing, Troy head coach Heather Bohner was proud of her squad, which saw two members lost to an injury and illness last week. With such a sudden disadvantage, the squad at one point considered not attending the competition.

A reflection on the weeks of hard practices and the last-minute addition of junior Danielle Bohner were the deciding factors that led to the decision to compete. The coach’s daughter had just two hours to practice with her new teammates.

“Danielle was nice enough to come in,” she said. “I am glad we got to be here and go out on that mat and give it everything we had.”

Milton claimed its fifth straight district title in the large division with a score of 199 — just one point over Montoursville. Shamokin did not advance, but coach Tammy Rhodes said she was pleasantly “surprised” after having thrown out almost the whole program two weeks ago for a difficult routine in an effort to gain more points.

She explained that the squad performed a clean routine at their last competition, but that the judges’ sheets stated there wasn’t enough difficulty.

“They hit everything. They won in my book,” she said of Saturday's performance. “This cheerleading squad business at Shamokin has come back. It wasn’t here for a long time. Regardless of how we did, (the squad) brought it back to something people actually want to see.”

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