The Vernonia Cheer Squad has worked hard this year to be more than just cheerleaders. In addition to being on the sidelines with pom poms and stepping onto the floor during breaks in games, this group of hard working and dedicated young ladies have been practicing stunts and dance routines and entering competitive cheer contests.
Under the direction of second year head coach Denise Way-Hacket, or Coach Dee as her team likes to call her, the Vernonia Cheer Squad has fared extremely well in the competitions they have entered this year. The competition team is made up of eight girls: sophomores Meagan Schirmeister, Mikila Solberg, Haily Wilhelm, and Nichole Gardner; junior Courtney Pasko; junior captain Alexandria Steffler, and senior captains Jessica Gardner and MaCayla Fennell. Hannah Fleck, Tonia Giordano, Anastasia Mihalcuic have all recently joined the cheer squad for the VHS winter sports season.
On November 2, Schirmeister performed in a pre-All-State cheerleading competition at Westview High School. Schirmeister performed individually and took first place in that event.
On November 9 a five girl stunt group, made up of Steffler, Solberg, Johannah Lange (who is playing basketball this winter season), Pasko, and Schirmeister headed to the All-State competition. The only 2A school in the competition, the girls performed a short dance routine and a stunt routine and did great to take fourth place. “It went really well, I think we did really well,” said Schirmeister. “Bringing home 4th place in All-State, Divisions 1-4A, for a 5 girl stunt group is just a stepping stone for this cheer program,” added Coach Dee. Schirmeister also performed individually at the All-State event.
Now, the eight girl competition team moves on to more intense competitions. On Saturday, December 14 the girls competed in Portland Starz, a national cheerleading competition held at the Portland Expo Center. Competing against seven high schools in the Varsity division, Vernonia was the only 2A school and went up against the remaining 4A schools from Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. The VHS squad took third place and brought home a trophy for their performance. In addition the team had the opportunity to watch over forty teams compete, including professional and club cheer squads.
Next up for the Vernonia girls: January 11 in Lake Oswego is the Laker Rumble and February 1 at Sheldon High School is the Sheldon Invitational, all leading to the State Competition on February 15 at the Memorial Coliseum.
“The eight girls representing VHS at state this year have put in countless hours to get a 2:30 routine down,” says Coach Dee. “They have struggled through changes, learning choreography, new formation changes, and just remembering what comes next. I am very proud of what they have accomplished in a short amount of time.”
Vernonia’s Voice would like to wish the VHS Cheer Squad good luck in all their upcoming competitions.