Share This Page

Butler captures 1st PIAA competitive spirit championship

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The Butler varsity spirit team won the PIAA small division championship Saturday in Hershey. The team includes, in front, from left, coach Nichole Moore, Jewel Erkman, Makenna Harvey, Jenna Hinkle, Paige Allen and coach Nicole Nea. In back are Haley Stariat, Jordan Mazzanti, Saxon Hartman, Jade Bowers, Alexis Frenchak, Kayla Donaldson, Brooke Carr, Taylor Stobert, Brianna Facemire, Annie Codispot, Alex Slomers, Haylee Winters and Emily Huber. Submitted

Butler High School's cheerleading squad spent the weekend in Hershey, but it wasn't the chocolate that made this journey sweet.

Members of the school's spirit squad won the first ever PIAA competitive spirit championship on Saturday, topping the field in the small varsity division with a score of 80.03 points.

Butler finished ahead of fellow WPIAL teams Pine-Richland, the WPIAL champion which placed second (77.67), and Franklin Regional, which took third (73.40).

“We are obviously excited that we were able to win the first PIAA competitive spirit competition,” coach Nicole Nea said. “First, we were happy that we were able to go and qualify for this event, and now we have the opportunity to go to nationals.

“We went into the competition wanting to finish in the top five. We are a team that competes at Nationals every year. The win is just a confidence booster for us going into nationals.”

Scores are tabulated from the average of the three judges' scores, up to 100. Each school's performance must have a cheer portion and a music portion.

During the cheer portion, teams are judged on their presentation of material, motions and skills and the overall execution of the cheering. Music routines are judged on stunts, pyramids, tumbling, jumps, dance and the overall effect.

“We hit an almost perfect routine. We made a few minor mistakes,” Nea said. “When you see the difficulty of the routines, you just have to go out there and see who can hit their routines with the least amount of mistakes.”

For some in the cheering world, this year has been a little bit different than previous years, because this year marks the first year that the PIAA and WPIAL has recognized competitive spirit as a sanctioned sport.

“Our year this year has been similar to those in the past. The WPIAL having the qualifying and this event is just two more times to get on the mat and bring home some trophies,” Nea said. “This is the first year that I have worked more closely with our athletic director in regards to more competitive things.”

In mid-January, the Golden Tornado finished in third place at the WPIAL competition.

Pine-Richland was first, while Shaler finished as runner-up.

“We see each other a lot at the local competitions,” Nea said in regards to competing with Pine-Richland, Franklin Regional and Shaler, which didn't make the trip to Hershey. “We all have similar routines, and to win something like the state championship, it was very big for us.”

The spirit schedule normally picks up in January and February for local squads.

The Golden Tornado also took first in a competition at Slippery Rock University last month.

Butler's season will culminate with a trip to the National High School Cheerleading Championship Feb. 9-10 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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.