When the Van-Far cheerleading squad took fourth in a tough regional competition this past summer, Van-Far coach Angela Carlyle knew her cheerleaders would have to put in a lot of hard work if it was going to leave November’s
State Championships with a Top-4 plaque.
While also practicing for football game performances each week, the Lady Indians put in 60 hours of training for the state competition.
Their effort paid off this past Sunday when Van-Far earned a fourth place plaque in the Class 1 Small Division of the Missouri Cheerleading Coaches Association State Championships held at the Hearnes Center in Columbia.
“So when they said fourth place, they called Van-Far, it was an overwhelming amount of emotion,” Carlyle said as it was the first time the squad has been in the Top-4 since she’s been a coach.
“The girls were really happy…”
This year’s 14-team field included a Fayette team that won regionals along with Glasgow and Putnam County, which both won state last year.
By their regional score, Van-Far entered the event as the No. 7 seed.
The Lady Indians were then faced with the tough task of being just the second cheerleading squad to perform overall on Sunday and they were the first Class 1 Small Division squad to compete.
“Probably the more nerve wrecking part (of Sunday) was just sitting and watching,” Carlyle said.
The Lady Indians performed at 11:10 a.m. and the final Class 1 Small squad hit the floor at 1:36 p.m.
Carlyle was uncertain as to how her team would score after they struggled a little on their first stunt in the routine.
“We had a bobble on the very first stunt,” she added. “At practice, it was the stunt that went perfect at practice. We knew if we had trouble with any stunt, it was going to be that one.”
Carlyle noted there was a timing issue with a couple of other areas but after watching the video, she said the average person wouldn’t see it.
She said none of the stunts fell and none came down early.
“Overall, the squad had zero deductions, which is fantastic, because I know there were quite a few other groups in our category that had in our category that had deductions,” Carlyle said. They had lots of energy, they were really loud, and they were really sharp during their cheer (session),” she said. “They did a tremendous job; to be the second routine of the day to perform, that is a lot of pressure…I think they did great. I was really proud of them.”
Carlyle said part of her team’s success was due to Hannah Bauman’s hard work in tumbling.
Bauman had put in a lot of her own time working on tumbling in Chesterfield once a week.
“She was our only tumbler in the routine,” Carlyle noted. “All of the other teams had a full squad tumbling…Hannah got out there with her round-offs and double hand springs…For us to still place fourth against all the other teams with one tumbler says a lot about her tumbling. The routine itself had to have been in the judges eyes pretty good to beat schools with back tucks…I’m just really proud of all her extracurricular hard work and dedication to the team to give us some tumbling scores.”
The great finish came in the final competition for seniors Marissa Cox, Micaella Love, and alternate Abbegail Robinson.
Carlyle said all three cheerleaders will be missed. She also noted the leadership provided by Cox and Love with work outside of practices.
“It’s going to be hard to think of a competition squad without those two,” Carlyle added. “Everything they do is really sharp and concise…Both of those girls have worked a really long time and worked really hard to be the kind of cheerleaders that they are. They are so valuable to this team. It’s really sad to know they won’t take that floor again but they still have basketball season and still have plenty of time to teach and encourage the other girls.”
After performing, Carlyle said recruiters from Central Methodist University talked to Love to see if she might be interested in cheering on the collegiate level.
“That was the first time any of our girls have been recruited right after performing,” Carlyle added.
Notable results included Glasgow placing 10th, Marceline in ninth, and Putnam County took 8th. The Top-4 teams receiving plaques were Chaffee (first), East Carter (second), Fayette (third), and Van-Far (fourth).
The finish was the highest for the coaching tandem of Angela Carlyle and Lisa Otis.
Carlyle said she was really grateful for the fan support that filled many seats at the Hearnes Center.
“We had about 80 people who went to supper with us,” she said. “…It was really great to see that many people come out. We’ve never had that big of a fan base turnout at state before this year.”
The squad did go to Columbia on Saturday to cheer on Centralia, who went on to win the Class 2 Small Division State Championship.
Ironically, the Lady Indians finished with the same team score as the Lady Panthers.