A-JCHS cheer squad earns sixth place finish at state
The Anna-Jonesboro Community High School Wildcat cheer team finished 6th in the Illinois High School Association competitive cheerleading state finals in Bloomington on Saturday, Feb. 3.
A-J placed 6th out of 81 small division teams in Illinois. This is the first time the A-JCHS cheer team has been a state finalist.
A-JCHS was the only Southern Illinois team in the small division to advance to the finals.
The season started in June when the team went to Universal Cheer Association Cheer Camp at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.
At the camp, the girls learned new skills, grew as individuals and as a team, and learned how to work together.
Kristin Chamness (head coach) and Sydney Heern (assistant coach) attend many trainings all over the state in order to keep up with how teams are scored, what judges look for in routines and how to set up the team for the best success.
After camp, the girls attended a choreography event in Edwardsville and got the basics for their competition routine.
Competition season was put on hold when school starts in August and the main focus is football season.
The A-JCHS Wildcats had an outstanding football season and the cheerleading team enjoyed cheering on the boys to the sectional final game.
In the fall, the cheerleaders hosted the annual little cheer/dance clinic and enjoyed spending time with future Wildcat cheerleaders.
Competitive season started at the end of October. The girls started practicing/conditioning for their competition routine and any changes to the routine were made.
The squad also moved right into cheering for the A-JCHS basketball team.
Regional competitions started in December. The A-JCHS cheerleaders competed at the following locations in the small varsity division:
Mt. Vernon High School and placed 1st.
Pinckneyville High School and placed 1st.
Edwardsville High School and placed 1st.
ICCA championships in Springfield and placed 4th.
Carterville High School and placed 2nd.
The IHSA season starts with a sectional competition. There are five sectional competitions across the state. In order to advance to state, the teams must place in the top five at their sectional.
The A-JCHS cheerleaders competed at the Waterloo sectional and placed 3rd out of 17 teams, advancing the squad to the state competition.
At the state competition in Bloomington, the cheerleaders were ranked 10th going into preliminaries out of 25 teams.
A-JCHS placed 6th out of 25 teams on the day of preliminaries, securing the team a spot in the finals.
On Saturday, Feb. 3, the cheerleaders finished in 6th place out of the 81 teams that started in sectionals across the state.
There was a welcome home parade for the team that evening in Anna.
The cheerleaders plan to perform their competition routine at the Feb. 9 home basketball game against Pinckneyville.
The school will be raising a state finalist banner for the cheerleaders at the Feb. 16 home game.
“This has been a wonderful season with a fairy tale ending, as placing sixth is a huge accomplishment,” Chamness said.
The squad’s season doesn’t end here as they finish out cheering for basketball.
The girls do numerous fund-raisers throughout the season to help fund the sport. They thanked the community for supporting their competitive program.
Team members and coaching staff are:
Head coach: Kristin Chamness.
Assistant coach: Sydney Heern.
Senior: Maddie Lingle.
Juniors: Ashley Detering and Mallory Cochran.
Sophomores: Addison Osman, Cheyenne Roach, Jenna Clark and Lily Yana.
Freshmen: Hallee Menees and Lexie Lingle.