When the Springtown High School cheerleading team made history by placing ninth in the UIL state finals, the team and coaches reacted as if they had placed first.
“The girls didn’t even move, we went ballistic,” Coach Kortnie Allen said. “You would’ve thought we had just won state finals, the state winner, because we were just so excited.”
The SHS competition team of 20 members competed against the other more than 80 teams in the 4A division during the UIL competition. SHS made the top 20 which led to another round of competition, where they placed ninth. The previous year, the team placed 37th in the state, Allen said.
“This is better than even winning because we never placed before so this is like a big, huge thing for Springtown,” Team Co-captain Cierra Miller said. “Even though not winning, it was still a big improvement because we’ve never placed top 10 or top 20.”
Three years ago, the members of the current team had never competed in cheer, Allen said.
Competition used to be only open to juniors and seniors whereas now any member of the cheer team can try out for a place on the competition team.
“We’ve just kind of called it our baby, and it’s just been this baby that’s progressed and it’s progressed and now we should be gold,” Allen said. “For us, it is gold.”
Allen said the team prepared for competition while also cheering at football games during the football team’s regular and playoff seasons.
“It’s crazy hours that they’ve put in,” Allen said.
The team is also preparing to compete at nationals in Orlando on Feb. 7, which has also never been done before by an SHS cheer team, Allen said. They were invited to this competition based on their score at regionals in November. The team rallied together to raise $25,000 for the trip.
For the competitions, the team prepared a band chant, cheer and fight song. The team used a few coaches and a choreographer to prepare for competition.
“It was like a big team effort of everybody pitching in,” Co-captain Harley Hawk said.
Team Cpt. Ashton Parton also said the team’s willingness to try new things has led them to success.
“I feel like a big part of our success this year is being open to change because in past years we haven’t been,” Parton said. “This year we were open to change in materials, stunt groups and everything, and it got us really far.”
Hawk would like to see the team place higher next year even though she will have graduated by then.
“I want to see a medal next year,” Hawk said. “I want to be scrolling through Facebook while I’m at college and see them or Kortnie or [Coach] Chrissy [Mayo] text us and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, we medaled.’”