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 […]

Former RHS Cheerleaders Compete in National Competition in Orlando

February 19, 2009 // 0 Comments

Four former Rockford High School Cheerleaders competed at the 2009 College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Competition at Disney World in Orlando, Florida on January 16, 2009. All four girls are currently cheerleaders for Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. The Cheer Team sent in A video of their routines and were ranked 14th out of 28 and were invited to participate in the competition. This was the second time that the CMU cheer team was invited to the National Competition and this year CMU placed 10th overall.

Competitive Cheer Squad Endures Ups and Downs

February 19, 2009 // 0 Comments

by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER Competitive cheerleading is a sport of highs and lows. One minute or round or competition, the athletes and fans are relishing a best-ever score. The next they are wondering what happened. The sport’s subjectivity, like that in figure skating and gymnastics, is often confusing, with fans wondering how a flawless routine can net the same score as another team’s mistake-laden performance. Such was the case in the last two competitions for the Rockford varsity competitive cheer team. On Thursday, Feb. 12, the Rams were riding a high with a best-ever third round routine at the East Kentwood Invitational. On Saturday, Feb. 14, the Rams had some struggles in the same round and finished ninth out of 12 teams at the prestigious PR Cheer Tournament at the Delta Plex. The Rams’ 790.54-point total on Thursday was a school record. The Rams’ 755.02 Saturday was their lowest since before Christmas. “A lot of it is the judging and [which teams are] there,” said Rockford assistant coach Mary Hurt, who also judges. Team dynamics and the atmosphere of the venue make a difference, too. “It’s hit and miss with the atmosphere,” Hurt said. “The girls were so geeked on Thursday, but Saturday they were somber. They felt the warm-up area was too loud. The Delta Plex takes a lot out of you.” She added that many of the teams did not perform their best on Saturday. The East Kentwood meet showcased the Rams’ abilities and what they can achieve this coming week with the post-conference meet Wednesday, Feb. 18 at home at 6 p.m. and the district competition at home on Saturday, Feb. 21. “Thursday we had three fabulous rounds,” said Hurt. “It was the most remarkable, beautiful, incredible thing I’ve ever seen. I expect the girls to do that again. If the girls want it [at the post-conference meet], they can do it. We can be top three. Everyone in our conference has beaten everyone else at least once, and we’ve beaten everyone except East Kentwood.” At East Kentwood, Rockford scored 225.8 points in round one, 243.64 in round two, and 321.1 in round three to finish second behind the host Falcons (808.17). The Rams’ third round looked perfect to the fans, but fell […]

Former Rockford Cheerleader Competes in National Competition

January 29, 2009 // 0 Comments

Jessica McDaniel and her partner stunt group competed in the 2009 College Cheerleading and Dance Team national competition in Orlando, Florida on Friday, January 16, 2009. The four members of the stunt group – Jessica McDaniel (back spot), Meghan Boyer and Marcella Morrill (bases), and Shannon Marconi (flyer) – represented Central Michigan University (CMU). This was the first time in the school’s history that an all-girl partner stunt group was sent to compete in national competition. The cheerleaders were chosen to compete by sending in a video of their routine. Based on this video, they were ranked 14th out of 28 teams before competition. The exciting event took place at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in the Milkhouse Arena. After a thrilling performance, the team placed 12th in the nation. On Saturday, Jan. 17, CMU’s all-girl competitive cheer team also competed. Three former Rockford High School cheerleaders were on the team: freshmen Alex Obetts and Katie Sakala, and senior Ashley DeVries. This was only the second year for the team to compete at nationals, and they were awarded a 10th-place finish.

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