11/14/2017 10:50:00 PM Back to back champions: Noblesville's road to consecutive state cheer titles
Noblesville cheer head coach Crystal Scott's squad will graduate five seniors this year. Here are Scott's thoughts on seniors Sydney Bowen, Megan Howard, Serena Morris, Lauren Murray, and Makenzie Rajski.
Sydney Bowen- I will miss this one's willingness to do whatever was asked of her....she would let her teammates flip her around and be in strange positions and always would respond "ok, I'll try" when given a new challenge.
Megan Howard- Megan is another senior that was with me for all 4 years on Varsity. I will miss her "calm and collective" nature she always performed with. Megan possessed a quiet confidence that was so helpful to have for keeping her teammates calm when they needed it!
Serena Morris- I will miss her true athleticism! She was a girl that no matter what we threw at her she could handle. I will miss her strive for perfection...even when she was told she didn't have to do it again, you would find her working on it some more.
Lauren Murray- I will miss the leadership from this senior. I would frequently hear her encourage the team and tell them "listen up guys" while the coaches reviewed important items. She was one girl who worked very hard to get the skills she needed to compete on the mat. I will miss her dedication.
Makenzie Rajski- I will for sure miss this one's humor and ability to keep the mood light for everyone. I will miss her "grit" and the hard work she always put in without complaining.
Around this time last year, the Noblesville High School cheerleading team shocked competitors by winning the Indiana State Cheer Championship. The victory came after almost ten years of not being competitive in state competition.
On November 4 of this year, the girls won their second title, but this time it wasn't as much of a surprise. The team had been practicing for months for the day when they could prove they weren't just lucky last year.
"When we won last year, we came out of nowhere," said Head Coach Crystal Scott. "That made a lot of the other teams motivated to be better this year. After winning this year I felt validated. I felt validated for the girls' hard work. We proved we weren't just a fluke team."
Each girl on the squad had been proving that to their coach and other teammates all season. The team, comprised almost equally of seniors and freshmen, took the time to bond and really grow as a unit this season.
"They withstood the pressure very well. Everyone put everything on the mat every time because they didn't want to let their teammates down," said Scott.
One thing that separated Noblesville from other competing squads was their genuine relationships with each other.
"These girls really bonded this season. I've heard of teams where girls don't hang out outside of cheer. Our girls have true friendships," said Scott.
Scott attributed that comradery to some extent to the senior leadership. The team will graduate five seniors this year. A group that really molded the team into a tight unit.
"We're going to miss these seniors' experience under pressure," said Scott. "These girls have been consistent for me for four years. They were always stepping up and encouraging the other girls."
After the season preliminaries, where just 60% of competing teams advance, Noblesville was in second place. Even without the first place finish, the team qualified to compete in the Varsity A division of the Indiana State Cheer Championship at New Castle High School, home to the largest gym in the state of Indiana.
"The atmosphere at state is intense," said Scott. "But we are very lucky to have had such support. We have a very supportive athletic department, and we had the dance team and football teams there cheering us on. The girl's really fed off of that energy."
Even though Scott mentioned the "importance of losing," throughout the season to show vulnerabilities, the feeling of winning was the highlight of the season.
"We went in with the mentality that nobody cared about last year. I think that helped us a lot."
With a combination of a solid mindset, a tight group comradery, and lots of skill and practice, the 2017 Noblesville Cheerleading team came away accomplishing their biggest goal for the season: a repeat state championship.