Three local squads were among 70 Indiana high school cheer teams that came together Saturday for one purpose -- to show their commitment and talent at the Indiana Cheerleading State Finals held at New Castle Chrysler High School.
The Indiana Association of School Principals sponsored the event.
Squads first took their performance to the preliminary competition Nov. 1 at Greenfield High School. A set number of teams from each class -- approximately 60 percent of competing teams -- advanced to the state finals.
Greencastle, South Putnam and North Putnam high schools represented the county at each competition.
The three coaches --Myra Cox, North Putnam; Lori Shuck, Greencastle; and Carrie Buttram, South Putnam -- said their squads could have done better at the preliminary competition.
Cox and Shuck took suggestions given to them by the judges at the Nov. 1 competition and polished their routines for state finals.
"We changed quite a bit of the routine," said Cox, who does all the choreography.
The alterations paid off for Cox and her squad, Stephanie Stratmann, Kelli Starr, Alyssa Young, Jessica Roseman, Callie Fehr, Kayla Ault, Chelsea Hillburn, Lauren Green, Nellie Asher, Cara Stanley, Samantha Surber, Maya Wilhite, Altera Harris, Morgan Christy, Taylor Bullderdick, BryceLynne Johnson, Nicole Roddy and Ashley Novak. They placed fifth in their division of nine schools.
In 2006, North was named cheer champion of the Varsity 2A division.
This is Shuck's third year -- her 12th as a coach-- at state finals with her cheerleaders. The first year they received sixth place; second year collected 10th place; and Saturday were finalists. Shuck is proud of her team, which has six freshmen.
She says they have matured and "really stepped up for us."
Greencastle cheerleaders, who compete in the Varsity 3A division, are Cary Drake, Kaleigh Duell, Laura English, Cheyenne Fauvergue, Kimberlyn Fenwick, Shelby Gilbert, Alycia Love, Miranda Patterson, Paige Pickens, Darian Ray, Amber Terry, D'Aundrea Williams and Cassie Alspaugh.
South Putnam cheerleaders competed for the first time at state Saturday.
"They have worked hard," said Buttram.
The girl's tumbling has improved. They went from just one girl with the ability to do a back handspring to the entire squad, she said.
Buttram didn't make any changes to the routine.
"I let them have a break," she said.
The girls were named finalists in the Varsity 2A division.
South Putnam cheerleaders are Melissa Miles, Britani Wood, Lindsey Hettich, Paige Truxal, Sarah Holloway, Emma Rich, Amanda Lund, Jessica York, Caitlin Russell, Tiffani Cox, Alissa Priest, Paige Clemons, Mellissa Scales, Aisa Terry, Christina Calloway, Ali Torr, Madison Marstellar, Jenna Geier, Dori Robertson, Chauncey Hayes, Steffany Baker and Emma Young.
Cheerleading, as we know it today, was initiated in 1898 by Johnny Campbell, stated about.com.
Campbell, an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, stood before the crowd at a football game and directed them in a famous and still used yell, "Rah, Rah, Rah! Sku-u-mar, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-So-Tah!"
Cheerleading has become a staple in American culture. The cheerleader is a nationally recognized symbol and always depicted as female. It, however, was originally a male sport and has been coeducational since the 1920s.
Cheerleading was introduced in elementary and junior high schools in the 1950s and developed into a professional sport in the 1960s, stated author, Mary Ellen Hanson in her book "Go! Fight! Win! Cheerleading in American Culture."