Entering last Thursday’s nine-team Class 1 Small Division Regional contest at Moberly Area Community College, Van-Far cheerleading coaches Angela Carlyle and Lisa Otis were not sure how their young team would respond against a talented field.
The Lady Indians had only three of their 11 girls participate in competition before with another five girls being freshmen.
Meanwhile, the field featured 2014 state champions Glasgow and Putnam County, who won their respective divisions last year as both were designated for the Class 1 Small Division after having 11 or fewer cheerleaders.
With a need to get 80% of the first place team’s score, Van-Far’s chances were not easy.
In spite of the adversity, the Lady Indians responded by nailing their routine and earning a fourth place regional finish to quality for the Missouri Cheerleading Coaches Association State Championships scheduled for November 7 and 8 in Columbia, Mo. Van-Far is slated to participate on Sunday, November 8.
“The girls did fantastic,” Carlyle said. “They nailed their routine. All of their stunts hit; there were no wobbles. The energy when those girls came off that floor..they were so excited because they knew they went out there and hit that routine…Lisa and I went in and thought a clean and simple routine is going to do better than adding difficulty and having a sloppy routine. We were just so excited.”
Other than the two defending state champion squads, the field featured powerhouse Marceline, Fayette, Wellsville, Sturgeon, Pilot Grove, and South Callaway.
As the results were being read by the judges, the coaches and the girls grew more and more excited as each team name was called in the places that don’t qualify for state.
When Marceline placed fifth, the Van-Far cheerleaders and coaches were ready to celebrate their top-four finish.
Carlyle did say Otis and herself were so proud of how far the girls progressed that it didn’t matter where the team was going to place. They were already excited.
Carlyle said she was proud of how your younger competitors responded to the challenge.
“They really had to step up,” said Carlyle about her young squad. “We asked the world of them to try to get them up to the same level as Micaella (Love) and Marissa (Cox). These girls worked so hard. By the end, you hardly recognized these girls could be incoming freshmen.”
The Lady Indians are now waiting to receive official score sheets from the judges to help them determine the tweaks in their routine to help them at taking a shot at winning a state championship.