Shawano makes final preparations for cheer regionals

Hawks attempt to bounce back from 4th-place finish

Chris Caporale,

Contributed Photo The Shawano Community High School cheer team is making its final preparations for Saturday’s Northern Regional at Waupaca High School. A top-three finish would advance the team to state the following weekend.

The Shawano cheer team started its season with back-to-back top-two performances in January but slipped to fourth in its latest competition last weekend at Kettle Moraine High School.

The team is still confident heading into Saturday’s Northern Regional at Waupaca High School.

“They did really well. It’s a new scoresheet that they’re learning,” Shawano coach Mary Kast said. “They hit their entire routine. We had very few stumbles in that routine. They came off very confident.”

The Hawks, which are down to 20 athletes, including two guys, will compete in the Small Coed division of the regional, a change from last season in which it had nine males and a roster of 24 to compete in the larger division.

The change in roster has also required the team to become more technically sound, especially in the lifts and stunts. Kast said the team began practicing the maneuvers last summer to be ready for the competition season.

“We didn’t have so many boys to rely on and we kind of had to believe in ourselves that we could do it with more girls,” senior Bella Stueck said. “I think we’re doing pretty good even though we’ve lost so many boys.”

The team is slated to perform just after 1 p.m., with an all-girl stunt team (Stueck, Tazia Wozniak, Reno Buelow and McKenzie Rindt) with another routine at 2:25 p.m. and a coed stunt group of Harrison Sturycz, Taylor Hodkiewicz and Danny Braatz performing almost an hour later.

The Hawks, who had their final preparation for the competition Thursday night, have just a few areas to improve on if they want to ensure a top-three finish.

“What has to happen is our opening coed stunt has to happen, our back tucks have to happen and I would say our quad stunts must hit,” Kast said.

Braatz also has a single-base hitch in the pyramid that would give Shawano full credit for the stunt.

“You get to a point where you get exhausted, and then all of the sudden, you feel like everything is going to fall down,” senior Sydney Utke said. “So I think we just have to stay tight, keep it together and just use our heads.”

Three teams in each category advance to the state competition Feb. 25 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.