The Shelbyville Cheerteam advanced to the IHSA State Finals at ISU in Bloomington this past weekend and came home State Champions.

There were only 25 teams allowed to advance to the State Tournament in each division; top five teams from each sectional held on March 4th. On Friday of the tournament they found that they advanced into the top ten teams of the Small Varsity Division after all 25 teams performed.

They were ranked 1st after the first day’s competition so they had to work hard to keep that ranking on Saturday during the top ten competition. In the top ten competition every team started with a clean slate no previous scores mattered or were carried over. After the tough competition on Saturday the third place winner was announced as Peotone High School, second place winner was Carterville High School and then in first place was Shelbyville High School. This was history in the making being the first IHSA State Champions for Competitive Cheerleading being the IHSA just adopted Competitive Cheerleading as a sport this year.

Coach Shelly Bridges said the girls worked their tails off all year and their hard work paid off. “We went in as the underdogs placing 2nd in our Sectional the previous weekend, but we went to state and conquered, Bridges said. “When this team wants something they go for it. I am so proud of all of them. We have finally gotten the recognition they deserve.

The team has gone through a lot to prepare for IHSA’s competition. The started working last summer and have continued to advanced themselves in stunting, jumping, tumbling, and motion tech ability. Prior to the IHSA competition this team had already advanced to the Illinois Cheerleading Coaches Associationís State competition(another competitive cheer organization) on their first Regional for ICCA and they took first at that regional in Kincaid, IL and then at their second Regional for ICCA they took second place in Mt.Vernon, IL.

All of these awards were in the Small Varsity Division. They chose to sit out of the ICCA State Competition this year and go for the gold at the IHSA competition because IHSA is recognized by the school district as a school title and ICCA is not.

“The team would like to thank the parents and fans that came to every competition. They truly appreciate your support. Also, they would like to thank their principal Kevin Ross and Assistant Principal/AD Rick Allen for coming up to the State Competition to support them, Brdiges said. “It means a lot to the team. Another thank you goes out to Mark Sanders and the Shelby Christian Church for allowing them to use the church to have a place to practice. The last thank you goes to Gaile Yaeger of WCRC/WCRA in Effingham for cutting their music that they used to perform at each competition.

“It has been the best year ever and it is just awesome to be known as the State Champions and to think about being the Defending State Champs next year at the State Tournament.”

Rick Allen has announced that there will be an all-school assembly to honor the State Champion Lady Rams Cheerleaders at 2:20 p.m., , at the high school. The cheer team will perform and the public is invited.

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