Spartan cheer squad among tops in nation

March 9, 2010

By Christopher Huber

The Skyline High School cheer squad is the 16th best small varsity co-ed team in the country.The Spartans placed 16th out of 38 schools after entering their first-ever national competition Feb. 11-15 in Orlando, Fla.

The school’s non-tumbling team did not make the finals.

Almost 500 schools from across the United States participated in 18 categories at the UCA High School National Cheerleading Championships, which was televised on ESPN.

“We were proud about our first showing at nationals,” said Stephania Lemeshko, Skyline’s coach. “And we hope to improve for the future.”

Skyline sent two teams, the small co-ed and the non-tumbling groups, to nationals after each placed second in their respective categories at the state competition in January.

Lemeshko said that although it faced tough, established teams from the South and East Coast, Skyline’s co-ed team performed some of the toughest routines at the competition. Group stunting is the team’s strength, she said.

“(They did) the most elite stunt series I saw in the whole nation,” Lemeshko said. “Just to make it to finals our first year is a pretty big accomplishment.”

The small co-ed team consists of two to four male and 17 female athletes.

A challenge of competing at the national level, Lemeshko said, was the nerves and inexperience of the squad at that level.

Washington schools tend to be about 10 years behind the national cheerleading trends, she said, so that’s part of the reason Skyline decided to step up its competition this school year. A handful of Skyline cheerleaders have received full-ride scholarships for college, and she said she hopes to see more reap the benefits of national attention.

“We’re trying to go to a more competitive environment,” Lemeshko said.

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