Story and photos by Mike Gesler
On Monday evening, the Grant High School Varsity Competitive Cheer played host to a CSAA Conference meet. In attendance were four other varsity teams from Big Rapids, Ludington, Tri County, and West Michigan Christian. Also in attendance were two middle school teams representing Big Rapids and Tri County. The meet was the second in four years for Grant to host.
Varsity Competitive Cheer is composed of three rounds with each round adding more difficult elements. During the first round, the team is required to have two jumping elements. Scoring is based on technique, level of difficulty, and togetherness and ease of those two jumps as well as vocals, floor mobility, team coordination, execution, general impression, and difficulty and variety. The middle schools do not compete in this round. At the end of round one, Tri County scored 224.10, Grant scored 208.50, West Michigan Christian scored 202.50, Ludington scored 186.90, and Big Rapids scored 169.30.
The second round adds five different gymnastic skills which include elements like rolls, cartwheels, handsprings, and walkovers. Scoring is much like the same as round one. The middle schools do compete in this round. Tri County middle school scored a 72.50, and Big Rapids middle school scored a 43.94. For the varsity teams, Tri County scores 210.66, West Michigan Christian scored 189.16, Grant scored 185.42, Ludington scored 152.00, and Big Rapids scored 112.90.
The third and final round adds stunts and choreography to the mix. This round is where the fan sees the teams lift team members in the air adding an element of height. Again, scoring is similar to the first two rounds, and the middle schools compete in this round. Tri County middle school scored a 200.80. Big Rapids middle school did not compete in this round. For the varsity teams, Tri County scored 283.30, West Michigan Christian scored 268.30, Grant scored 257.20, Ludington scored 242.30, and Big Rapids scored 209.60.
Placing is then the combined score of each round. First place went to Tri County with a combined score of 718.06. In second place was West Michigan Christian with a score of 659.96. Grant received third place with a score of 651.12. Ludington went home with fourth place and a score of 581.20. And Big Rapids with a score of 491.80 placed fifth.
“I think they did really good,” stated Grant’s coach, Ashley Chesebro. “We actually had our best round one score and best round two score of the whole season so far so I think they really gave great performances today.”
The CSAA Conference rankings now see Tri County on top, followed by a tie between Grant and West Michigan Christian for the number two spot. Ludington sits in the third slot, with Big Rapids in fourth, and Chippewa Hills in fifth.
“It’s a big deal for the girls,” added Chesebro. “They’ve grown a lot in the program. I started four years ago as a small program, and they have really climbed the rankings every year since then.”