Eden Christian cheerleaders earn bid

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Eden Christian Academy cheerleading team experienced a dramatic change of fortune after competing at the WPIAL Class A competitive spirit championship last week at North Hills High School.

The Warriors left thinking they failed to qualify for the PIAA championship on Feb. 2 in Hershey.

With the top three teams guaranteed berths, the Warriors finished fourth.

Only later did they learn they would be competing after receiving an at-large bid.

“They did not stay to hear the results,” said Courtenay Carrel, a member of the WPIAL competitive spirit committee. “(This is) exciting for them.”

“The girls will be very happy to have a second chance to show their skills,” said Eden Christian coach Ranie Patterson.

Eden Christian was one of 25 schools, including seven in Class A, that competed at the championships, which were held for the first time after the PIAA recognized the sport last spring.

The seven top-scoring teams in Class AAA and the top two in Class AA also automatically qualified for the inaugural state championships.

Eden Christian was among the six next-highest scorers, regardless of classification, that received at-large bids.

Teams were judged on routines lasting no longer than two minutes and 30 seconds. Presentations had to include a sideline cheer or chant.

Competing for the first time, Eden Christian battled nerves, said Patterson, who expects the Warriors to improve at the PIAA championship.

“We will continue to practice and change things based on the judges' comments we received,” she said. “We will tweak the stunts from the cheer to fix some things the judges suggested.

“We can't wait to travel to Hershey.”

In her second year as coach, Patterson thinks the squad has gained much respect competing.

“The girls are being looked at as athletes (by their classmates),” she said. “We had a lot of support (at the WPIAL championship).”

“We definitely have come a long way,” said senior co-captain Mackenzie Schutt, who missed a family vacation in Florida in order to compete.

Senior Morgan Adler found it fitting the team has a cheering section.

“We cheer for people, now they cheer for us,” she said.

Besides Schutt and Adler, the team includes seniors Mary Beth Bushee, Carlie Kapres, Katie Pflugh, Abby Schogel and Sarah Warren.

Sophomores Mikayla Doran, Livvy Dornsife and Taylor Hauskins and freshman Nicole Hauskins also compete.

Senior Emily Morgan is a non-competitive squad member, Patterson said.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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