Wildcats cheer squad takes state honors

The Oak Harbor Wildcats cheer squad shows off  the hardware that they captured at last weekend’s Washington State Cheer Championship’s at Juanita High School. - submitted photo
The Oak Harbor Wildcats cheer squad shows off the hardware that they captured at last weekend’s Washington State Cheer Championship’s at Juanita High School.
— image credit: submitted photo

The Oak Harbor Wildcats cheerleading squad didn’t let a lack of sleep stop them from racking up the awards at last weekend’s Washington State Cheerleading Championships.

Up at four in the morning and on the road to Juanita High School near Lake Washington by five, the Wildcats squad earned three first-place finishes and a second in the four events that they entered.

The Wildcat cheerleaders endured a hectic week with cheering at the girls state basketball championship at the Tacoma Dome on Wednesday and then practicing every evening in Oak Harbor.

The cheerleaders collected a first place in the all-girl large varsity division, beating out the champions from the east side of the state, University High School (Spokane). Every routine must include a cheer, chant, dance, stunts, tumbling and jumps. The Wildcat cheerleaders improved on their difficulty by adding twisting cradles out of their extended scorpions.

Despite losing one of their best back bases, Megan Stump, to a broken foot, they performed a flawless routine not just once but three times that day; first in warm-ups in front of a packed audience, then in preliminaries and then finals that afternoon.

"As we took the mat to warm-up our routine, the whole crowd hushed,” said team captain Anna Galgana. “I looked up at the audience and all eyes were on us. This is only warm-ups, but I knew they were checking us out to see if we could live up to our reputation.”

The varsity team combined with some of the junior varsity cheerleaders to compete in the crowdleader division, beating out hometown favorite Juanita High School. Combining props like dancing OHHS letters, flags, streamers, and pyramid-high banners helped Oak Harbor easily win this new division.

In the five-girl stunt division, seniors Eliza Comicho, Keilah Oatman, and Sarah Gohn with junior Kimberly Boon and sophomore Allison Hogan awed the audience with an extremely difficult routine that included spinning up to scorpion and double twisting cradles.

"It was the best that I have ever seen them perform this routine," said head coach Pam Headridge. "There was no doubt that they would win this event, but the best part was to see the tears of joy in the eyes of my assistant coach, Robin Gohn, and mother to Sarah."

The final victory of a very long day was junior, Kristin Acton, taking second place in the Individual Cheerleader division.

The Wildcat cheerleaders are not done. Tomorrow they catch a 2 a.m. flight for Anaheim, California to take part in the USA Nationals.

Last year the squad placed sixth after an early-bird flight. Maybe early morning travel is lucky for the Cat cheerleaders - can another first-place trophy be on the offing this time? The Oak Harbor cheer squad will find out this weekend.

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