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Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

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Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

New heights

Cheerleaders win first national title
Varsity cheerleader Hallie Brown energizes the crowd during the team’s routine show off before nationals. Photo Ana Myers-Olvera

Moments before their performance at the NCA competition in Dallas, the cheerleading team felt ready. A two day contest running from Jan. 21-22 determined if they would win a national title in their category. With the final routine coming up, the entire team held each other close and said a quick prayer.

The competitions are rated on a 100-point system, with the judges deducting points for mistakes in the cheerleaders’ movements. Before they performed for the judges, they warmed up one final time. Though the entire team was nervous, they focused on one thing: their successful preliminary rounds.

“I went in to check the scores from the first day,” varsity coach Wilkins said. “Immediately when I saw that we were at 98, I knew that we would probably be high up in prelims and probably be in first. So that just kind of lit a fire underneath all of them.”  

As coach Wilkins led the team onto the mat, everyone walked down the hall onto the stage. The team saw the parents, the judges and the spectators watching them. The cheerleaders rushed into their positions as cheer captain Chloe Zeller moved to the side of the mat with the other captains. Red and white pom-poms in hand and red megaphones ready, they were ready.


The next day, the team found out the results of their hard work. They had taken home the gold, with a score of 98.1. For the first time in the team’s history, they had won a national championship. 

“We’ve been training for nationals since September,” cheerleader Zoe Westmann said. “And we’ve just been adding in like our pep rally routines and all the other things. We’ve worked hard, very hard.”

We were all super happy to be together and we just wanted to win.

— Chloe Zeller, 12

The entire roster had been practicing rep after rep in the weeks leading up to the tournament, honing every movement.

“Right when we got back from Christmas break, we were here at the school practicing almost every day,” Wilkins said. “That was two and a half hours almost every day.”

Having practiced almost nonstop for weeks, the team was exhausted by the time they were at the competitions, but it brought the entire team closer.

“We were all super excited to be able to perform that routine,” Zeller said. “We were all super happy to be together and we just wanted to win. And our sisterhood really just showed during our performance.”

Varsity cheer team performs their competition routine the one last time before heading to nationals on Jan. 13. Photo Ana Myers-Olvera

For the competition, there were two routines that two respective groups were performing. Among the team were a select few who competed in both.

“She was on both of the teams that competed,” Wilkins said. “She wasn’t just doing that one performance, she actually ended up performing four times in a row with big gaps in between. So we were sleeping literally on the benches at the hotel and just trying to rest, we were exhausted.”

With Zeller being on both routines, she had to practice for both, hammering down every slight movement. 

“Chloe gave up a lot of time to do that extra routine and almost completely gave up her free time,” Wilkins said. “And for her as a senior, especially during her senior year, to give up that amount of time was a big deal.”

The cheer team going to the national competition was a first for the entire team. With this being her first year, she also had to lead first-time national competitors into the competition.

“My team, thank you for trusting me as a new coach to come in and do something new and start all the new traditions and all the things that we’ve changed this year and trusting me through the process,” Wilkins said. “It obviously paid off.”

This was the seniors’ final competition, ending their high school career with bringing home the biggest victory in the team’s history. 

“It’s a very unique accomplishment. I don’t think Marcus cheer has like one anything that big in a long time,” Westmann said. “It was definitely a big deal. And I’m really grateful to be a part of that.”

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About the Contributor
Garrison Acree
Garrison Acree, Entertainment Editor
Garrison Acree (he/him) is on his second year on staff as a junior. When he’s not banging his head against his keyboard trying to work out the bug in a website’s code or trying to use JavaScript, he’s using writing as an outlet for creation and for spreading God’s word. He hopes to branch out from writing a little and support the staff in the design and photography departments. The attitudes of women and fish towards him are too varied and complex to be accurately described in a bio.  

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