Andrea Decker

Rockford Competitive Cheer Falls Short of Qualifying for State

March 5, 2009 // 0 Comments

by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER The tears told the story. For the second straight year, the Rockford varsity competitive cheer team had performed three solid, crowd-electrifying rounds, yet their season would end at regionals, not at the coveted state meet. The team – which had its fans abuzz in the stands at Brighton High School Saturday after performing well against 11 other regional qualifiers – finished eight points behind Lake Orion, which captured the fourth and final qualifying spot for the state meet at the Delta Plex on Saturday. Last year Rockford missed qualifying by six points. “We wanted them to have three solid rounds, and we hoped it would be enough,” said Coach Kathy Jo Resseguie, who pulled the girls into the locker room shortly before the results were announced to tell them the bad news. “They are winners in our eyes because they gave all they had until the end.” “We rocked! We looked good,” added assistant coach Mary Hurt. “We definitely peaked when we needed to. We were headed in the right direction. I’m so proud of them.” The Rams have only qualified for the state finals once in the last four years, but they have been close every time. As part of the most competitive league in the state, the OK Red, the Rams have fallen victim often to a system that allowed more teams on the east side of the state to qualify than on the west side. In three of the last four regionals, they have come head to head with five of the Top 10 teams in Division I, all from their league. Included in the mix have been Division I defending champion Grandville, East Kentwood, West Ottawa, Jenison and Hudsonville. Only two teams were allowed to advance until this year. When the Rams qualified in 2006, they were the lone OK Red team to compete in the regional in Mount Pleasant and were able to advance to state with a first-place finish. The other league competitors had to fight for two spots in another regional that year, leaving some top-ranked teams sitting home on state competition day. The Rams, who have been ranked in the Top 10 or honorable mention almost every year for the past decade, finished sixth […]

Competitive Cheer Teams Battle Head-to-Head in OK Red

February 26, 2009 // 0 Comments

by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER The slogan emblazoned on the back of the competitive cheer t-shirts couldn’t have been more appropriate. The message “Head to Head in the OK Red” clearly set the stage for an all-out battle in both the OK Red post-conference cheer finals and the Division I district championships held last week at Rockford High School. Although sold at only the conference competition on Wednesday, the t-shirts’ implication rang true for the district competition as well. Even though 14 teams competed Saturday for the chance to move on to the regional at Brighton, everyone knew that the top four spots, as well as the next two, would be secured by teams from the OK Red. With five of the top 10-ranked teams in Division I coming from the conference, no one can argue that the Red is the most competitive league in the state. In the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s (MHSAA) most recent postings, East Kentwood was ranked second behind Rochester, and West Ottawa was ranked third, followed by Grandville (fourth), Jenison (eighth), and Rockford (10th). In addition, Grandville has won the state title four times since 1997 and placed in the runner-up spot five times. West Ottawa has been runner-up twice, and East Kentwood has been second once. In both the conference and district competitions, those three, along with the host Rams, Jenison and Hudsonville, fought for the top spots. For Rockford coach Kathy Jo Resseguie – whose Rams finished third at the post-conference meet and fourth at districts – placing in the top four was significant. “[On Wednesday], I was hoping to move up from fourth at the pre-conference ” she said. “Rockford has kind of settled into that fourth-place spot. It gave us a confidence booster going into the weekend to finish third. That was awesome! To finish fourth at districts is amazing. I don’t think the girls realize how good fourth in this area is. This area sets the bar for everybody. To finish second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth in this area is unbelievable.” The district competitions are new. In previous years, teams competed in regional competitions with only two teams advancing to the state meet. With four of the five regions contested on the east side of […]