Varsity cheer takes second at IHSA state

Mia Emerson, Lauren Bearden-Kyser, Noah Maldonado, Staff Writers

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On the first two days of February, Plainfield South’s Coed cheerleading team placed second overall in the state tournament, setting a record for the sport.
The cheer team placed second by 93.43 points out of 100 points and beat the third-place team by 0.19 points. Belvidere North placed first with 96.63 points: only a 3.2-point difference.
The placement of the Coed cheer team is a major victory not only for the team, but also the athletic department.
In response to the results, Ken Bublitz, athletic director at South, said a culmination of improvement led to the team qualifying for state in the passing season.
“Changes starting five years ago: improved performance level, improved dedication and commitment, a tremendous work ethic by both student athletes and the cheer coaching staff,” said Bublitz.
Brooke Twohill, the head coach of the cheer team, also said she focused more on the little details and was stricter on the team this year, which helped contribute to their placement at state.
“I was tougher on the kids and held them more accountable, but they stepped up to the challenge and I opened my eyes to more detail and the kids really bought into that as well,” Twohill said.
Bublitz praises Twohill for her conduct as the head coach. He says she has done a fantastic job and claims she has preserved the cheer program.
The support from their coaches also helped encourage them to keep working hard and advance to the final event of the season.
“The support we got from our coaches all season was outstanding. I can’t even express how much love they give us. Their support at state definitely stood out, their main focus was on us to make sure we were all in the right mindset,” said Tenley Brown, sophomore.
The cheer team practiced a lot to get their place in State. They practice four to five days a week for two hours each practice.
“They [the kids] probably only get about one day off per seven days,” Twohill said.
Also, during the summer the team practiced two to three times a week and conditioned in the weight room once a week.
However, the snow days leading up to state were a challenge and the team ended up losing a practice day. This threw off their strict schedule. The team, however, was able to adapt and extended a practice afterwards.
The adaptation of the team in State also helped the Varsity Cheer girls to gain confidence in their routines, which helped them in their placement.
“During state day one my team and I hit our routine but not to our full potential which put us in [an] amazing place advancing up to day two. Walking into day two with my team we had nothing to lose. All we wanted was to go out there and have fun and just take it all in and that’s exactly what we did, and we hit hard, placing us above the second-place team we were behind day one,” said Aubrey Mikel, junior.
Brown said their disappointment in their performance on day one motivated them to place on the podium on day two.
The track record for the Coed cheer team is strong. Placing ninth in 2017, fourth last year, and with second now under their belt the future seems bright for the cheer team. The team, coaches, and Bublitz agree the team has potential.
“I think if the kids still stay focused on details and putting in all of the outside work, that we can definitely [place on the] podium again. Hopefully, maybe even win state,” Twohill said.