Skyline High School cheerleaders claim top score, state title

February 5, 2013

By Lillian O'Rorke

The Skyline High School green cheerleading team topped off its award-winning routine Jan. 26 with a pyramid. Contributed

The Skyline High School green cheerleading team topped off its award-winning routine Jan. 26 with a pyramid. Contributed

For the third time in three years, the Skyline High School green cheer team walked away from the Cheerleading State Championships on Jan. 26 with the state title.

The girls’ score of 253 points in the large 3A/4A division not only shot them to the top of their own category but it also was the highest score earned by an all-girls team in any category. The only squad that scored more was a co-ed team from Kentwood.

“They really were determined to end their senior year at state with a fantastic routine, and that’s what they did,” coach Stephania Lemeshko said.

She said the 27 girls on the green team have a technically advanced routine that they have continually modified after qualifying for state in mid-December. Since, the team has added handsprings, elite tumbling and stunt moves that are usually only performed by co-ed squads.

“Our difficulty is so much stronger than 99 percent of the state, and they wanted to make sure that it was not only mistake-free, but clean,” Lemeshko said. “The girls really wanted to go out there this year and prove it. Leave no doubt.”

Senior captain Elle Deagle has been on the team for three years and was there when green took the medium division state title in 2011 with 227 points and again in 2012 with a score of 231.

“It’s a really nice way to round out my high school cheerleading career, knowing that we have done so well in state all three years,” she said.

Deagle is a base, which means she is responsible for both throwing and holding her teammates during stunts. While this year was definitely their hardest performance, it was also their best, she said, because they hit all the stunts and landed all their tumbling.

“What we do on the sidelines is great, but what we do on the blue mat is different. What they actually do on the blue mat is a whole new level of cheerleading and athleticism,” Lemeshko said. “Cheerleading is a very mental game. You have to be technically exceptional to do what you are doing. You are holding someone with one hand over your head.”

Skyline’s other two cheer teams, silver and white, also made the trip to the state competition, where they each placed in the top 10 of their divisions. The 12 athletes that make up the silver team competed in the small 4A category and scored 202 points to take third place. The white team, made up of eight girls, competed in the nontumbling 4A category, where they tied with Todd Beamer High School for eighth place with 195 points.

All 47 girls on the Skyline squad cheer together at football games in the fall and then split into smaller groups for competition season. Each team needs to score a 175 or higher to qualify for state, but the Skyline cheer teams did it with scores ranging from 204 to 255.

“That’s what I am really proud of, is that all three of my teams are qualified to compete in varsity programs, and all three teams qualified with scores over 200, which is impressive,” Lemeshko said.

Just because the girls have another championship trophy to add to their awards case, doesn’t mean their work is finished. Both Skyline green and silver teams leave this week for Orlando, Fla., where they will join roughly 600 teams for the national cheerleading competition Feb. 9-10. This year, Lemeshko said, she is hoping her girls will place in the top 10 for both of their divisions.

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