The New London Cheer Dance team captured a state title after a weekend in Madison.
The Cheer Dance team competed against teams from Appleton West, Cudahy, Oconto Falls, Kettle Moraine and Wauwatosa West in their division, with New London emerging victorious.
The state championships are organized by the Wisconsin Association of Cheer/Pom Coaches, Inc. (WACPC), in cooperation with the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA).
New London’s journey to the state title began in October, when practice began.
“The team has worked very hard since October, competing in two other events the weekends before the state competition,” said Head Coach Ashley Boedecker. “Our team took first place in Green Bay at the Brown County Arena, and followed that up with a strong finish at Regionals in Wisconsin Rapids to qualify for State.”
Boedecker said there are two separate teams that work closely with each other. The Cheer and Stunt team performs a routine that lasts about two minutes and 30 seconds, and focuses on stunts, tumbling, jumps, and cheers.
The Cheer Dance Team, which won the state title, focuses solely on dance and jump elements. Their routine must be complete in two minutes or less.
“We practice every Wednesday and every other Friday,” said Boedecker. “We work to coordinate our practices with other athletic events. The girls are all very dedicated, and the team was willing to add practices when needed and really go the extra mile.”
Their efforts certainly paid off this season.
“Some of the girls were at state last year, but a few of them were not. It’s a totally different atmosphere, and the girls did a great job adjusting to it. They performed up on a stage, had a special introduction, and there was smoke, lights, and music. It was more exciting than some of the smaller events, and it helps them get into the moment. It was quite awesome to perform there.
“Our captains were very good role models,” added Boedecker. “All of the girls worked hard to help with choreography throughout the season, and it was really special to win the state title – especially for the seniors.”
Senior captains Chelsea Bartel, Britteny Dey and Samantha Dedering said teamwork was the key to their success this year.
“We all contributed ideas in practice, and we really worked together to make our routine better,” said Dedering. “We worked on it count by count and formation by formation. It’s a lot of work to get everyone on the same page and moving the exact same way.”
“It took a couple months for everyone to get the routine down,” added Dey. “We were like a family; we all worked together and helped each other as much as possible.”
“Everyone really does a good job of encouraging each other,” said Bartel. “We had two new girls this year, and we did our best to help them. They understood the teamwork concept.”
All three agreed that the intensity level increased with every practice leading up to the state competition.
“We had an extra practice the morning of Regionals,” said Bartel. “And it definitely paid off when we advanced to state.”
The girls performed at State at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, and anxiously awaited the awards ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Results were announced in descending order, from third to first place.
“We heard the third place and second place teams announced, and they were two teams that had finished ahead of us at Regionals,” said Dedering. “So we were all really nervous, wondering if we had beaten them or finished near the back of the pack.”
“We were all squeezing each other’s hands so tightly. I had marks on my hands from someone’s fingernails. When they announced the first place team, we just heard ‘New…’ and we all just went crazy. Everyone was bawling, and it was just so exciting,” said Bartel.
“Other teams are also very supportive of whoever wins,” said Dey. “The teams aren’t mean. Everyone congratulates each other and it’s very positive.”
Boedecker thanked assistant coaches Ashlee Amador and Meagan Hogan for all of their help throughout the year. Bartel, Dey, and Dedering thanked their coaches, teammates, and parents for a great season.
The competition will be aired on cable on FSN in March. On March 27, the competition will air at 11 p.m. On March 28, the competition will air at 3 p.m. On March 30, the competition will air at 4 p.m.
The top three routines from each division will be shown, as well as interviews with the state champion teams.