BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
DRAPER — For the first time in Utah, a statewide competition for cheerleading was held last Saturday at Juan Diego High School.
When it was over, Woods Cross and Davis High School took home state titles in the 4A and 5A classifications.
Both won the All Girl Show Cheer category.
“I’m so proud of my team. These girls work so hard and have such a long season and it’s fun to see it be successful,” said Davis coach Brooke Painter in an email. “It’s also fun for the girls to have the support and get recognized on the state level for how hard and how talented they are in their own sport.”
The state competition is judged on a two-and-a-half minute routine, consisting of both a cheer and a music section, said Painter and Woods Cross coach Nichole Robertson. Those routines involve a subset of sequences such as standing and running tumbling, a group stunt, a pyramid and several other sequences.
There is also a cheer routine, where members of the squad must incorporate signs, pom poms, megaphones and other materials in order to get the crowd to join in.
Five judges score the competition. Three judge the routines, and the other two are “penalty” judges who look for safety violations and penalties, such as stepping off the mat.
Robertson said she was both excited and humbled to not only be part of the first-ever state competition, but to win the competition as well.
“I’m excited that we were able to get a state and region competition started,” she said in an email. “These girls start working on their routine in August, and this year we had Kelly Vallante come in from Florida to choreograph our routine.”
Vallante runs a choreographing studio called Exclusive Choreography, based in Florida.
Both Robertson and Painter said one of the problems with judging in a competition, despite their team’s wins, is the fact that cheerleading isn’t considered a sport by the UHSAA, making it difficult to conform under a certain criteria.
“There are no set rules,” said Robertson. “It’s one of the problems cheerleading has, because in each competition judges could be looking for different qualities in each routine.”
Despite the difficulty, however, both said they were proud of being able to claim a state title.
Robertson thanked the many seniors on the team “who are extremely talented and push the other girls to be better.” Woods Cross has 10 seniors on this year’s team including Marissa Appiah, Madi Hoffman, Alexis Devey, Kambree Robinson, Hailey Tebbs, Katy Dunbar, Bree Price, Mariah Paul, Kelli Horgesheimer, and Emilee Bray.
“I’ve never seen such a talented group come through here,” Robertson said. “They will be extremely missed.”
Painter pointed out five seniors who have helped the team in one way or another this season. Bailey Carling, a captain on the team, is a “great team leader who is very motivated and sets a good example for the team,” and co-Captain Hayley Hovey “is very good at motivating the team.”
Other cheerleaders mentioned were Tyra Colohan, Maddy Strahm, Jordyn Arnold, Morgan Lawson and Reagan Mills.
“They’re all such great girls and motivate each other,” said Painter. “They are very good at building each other up and making themselves better as a team.”
After winning the state competition, the Darts will head to Anaheim, Calif. this weekend to compete in a national cheerleading competition.
The team competed a regional competition in January and finished high enough to qualify for the national competition.