Shaler competitive cheerleaders win 3rd straight title
TribLIVE Sports Videos
At Shaler, cheerleaders get the crowds riled up at every game, but this squad is more than entertainment between plays — it's a nine-time Pennsylvania state champion.
The team recently earned its third straight Division 7 title. The divisions are broken up by the number of cheerleaders on the team.
There are 20 members of the varsity cheerleading squad at Shaler, and 13 of them compete.
“We are working toward the same common goal,” said Diana Cook, one of the team captains. “We put it all together in practice, and we hit it.”
Cook was a sophomore when this team won the first of the three titles.
“I did not realize it then, but when I see all the effort that goes into it, I just can't explain the feeling I get,” Cook said. “I am honored to be a captain of this team, and I could not ask for a better team.”
This competition has been around for 25 years, and Shaler coach Phyllis Schatz fields a team just about every year.
“We do a two-and-a-half minute routine that involves tumbling, stunting and dancing,” Schatz said. “We work all year on it, (and we bring in a choreographer). We will compete in February at nationals in Orlando, Fla., and use the same routine.”
Madison Sauer is the other team captain, and she said the experience has been great — three years, three championships.
“Having followed the (older cheerleaders) gave me good footsteps to follow,” Sauer said. “We change our routine depending on the organization who is judging us. They all look for different things.”
Schatz and her team practice every day for an hour and a half, and there's seldom a day missed.
“If I try to cancel a practice, the girls get upset,” Schatz said. “They want to come and practice. They want to be the best and succeed.”
The Shaler team earned top-10 finishes the past two years at nationals, and Schatz has sent many of her cheerleaders on to the college level.
“Many of the girls told me this time is the best time of their lives,” Schatz said.
Schatz credits her assistant — former Shaler cheerleader Becky Trouppman — for the team's success and hopes to hand the program off to her some day.
“We just have a wonderful, dedicated group of scholar-athletes here,” Schatz said. “That is paramount. Plus, the school district really supports us.”
Sauer said she will miss the competitive cheering side of her experience.
“It is a completely different ballgame than cheering at a game,” Sauer said. “We are a small group, so we are close. This was my high school experience, and I am glad we got recognized for the hard work.”
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kittanning traffic snarls expected as bridge renovation work wraps up
- Kittanning fundraiser to help homeless pit bulls
- Puppeteer from Connellsville native has talent
- Two wild-card format hurting Pirates in short term
- 4 projects suggested for block grant funding in Connellsville
- Starkey: The kick returner and the grizzly bear
- September, the new summer? Warm, dry weather expected
- Despite age, ‘Trek’ stars enjoy hipster status
- Advanced hunter education has trouble staying course
- Steelers trade 6th-round pick for Jaguars kicker Scobee
- ATI continues to produce, ship products