Barrington High School cheerleaders take home 2nd in state
Members of the Barrington High School varsity cheerleading squad celebrate with their second place trophy during a school assembly. | Photos courtesy Laura Meehan
Updated: March 15, 2013 11:57AM
BARRINGTON — Barrington High School has another reason to be proud of its varsity cheerleading squad.
The team’s spirit, skill and precision brought home second place from the state meet Feb. 2.
The statewide competition, which took place in Bloomington, involved 25 teams rigorously judged in 10 categories, including synchronicity, degree of difficulty, formation and voice projection,.
“It really comes down to the judge’s opinion of skills,” said head coach Laura Meehan, adding that tumbling proved the BHS team’s strong point.
Post-season glory, however, wasn’t a given when the 26-member squad came together at the start of the school year.
“At the beginning of the year, we didn’t even think we were going to make it to state,” said senior team member Allison Evon.
Several cheerleaders credited the team’s diligent practice discipline for overcoming the challengers that could have hindered their final performance on the state’s most high-profile cheerleading stage.
“The thing about cheerleading is that it all comes down to three minutes,” said senior team member Alexa Hanaford, explaining that judges scrutinize everything during that short time.
Coach Meehan also noted that judges weigh additional factors, like motion of arms and legs as well as jumping, tumbling and stunts like pyramids. She said cheerleading competitions allow the squads to be recognized in a way they might not be at a sporting event, where the crowd is generally more focused on the game than the cheerleaders.
“They don’t always appreciate the athletics behind it,” Meehan said. “They’re amazing athletes.”
Explaining the difference between the two settings, Meehan said competitive cheerleading showcases a squads entire set of skills.
“Competitive cheerleading is a combination of all those skills that people might see in isolation on the sidelines of a game,” she said.
Team members received their own medals and the school now boasts a new trophy, but the cheerleaders said their greatest reward is the friendships they’ve formed.
“You get to know people you wouldn’t normally know,” senior Casey Wertz said.
That’s because some team members grew up cheering together before entering high school, while others discovered an interest through other avenues.
“I started out as a gymnast, but I fell in love with high school cheerleading,” said senior Christian Sellars.
The second place performance matches Barrington’s success one year ago, and is one slot better than its third place finish in 2009. Buffalo Grove High School took home first place in the state championships.
“We’ve been in the top 10 for the last six or seven years,” said Meehan, expressing pride in her team’s continued progression.
“This team has come a long way since when we started,” she said. “It makes all the hard work we do worth it.”