Cheer triumphs at sectionals


By Flynn Geraghty, executive features editor
Senior Kristina Beihoffer arrived at Prospect at 7 a.m. on Sat., Jan. 31. After a quick practice, Beihoffer and the rest of the varsity cheer team got on the bus and headed to Lake Zurich for their sectional competition.
The bus ride is one of Beihoffer’s favorite parts of cheer competitions, since it gives her an opportunity to talk and sing along to songs with her friends on the team. Little did they know that later that day, those same girls belting out the chorus to an Adele song would be the first team in Prospect cheer history to place first at sectionals.

Varsity cheer made Prospect history by placing first this year at Sectionals. The girls exceeded their goal to place in the top five by winning.

According to cheer coach Jackie Gronski, the girls began their practices in June. They were determined on achieving only one goal that year: get to state. Last year, the girls placed sixth place at sectionals, with a score only only 0.6 points away from advancing to state.
“To be sixth [last year] was really difficult, but it just made us want it that much more,” Gronski said. “We knew to get [to state], we had to clean up our acts. The girls had extra practices and focused on small things [in their routines], which can be mentally draining, but they nailed it.”
With all of their hard work and preparation behind them, the girls didn’t feel nervous when they got up to perform.
“Before we walk out to the mats, I stand next to my friend, and we always talk to calm our nerves,” Beihoffer said. “This time, she looked as me and she said, ‘You know, I’m not nervous at all right now. I feel really confident.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, me too, actually.’ I was a little nervous, but it just kind of disappeared.”
Despite the girls feeling confident, Gronski was still a little anxious.
“You always get nervous with high-risk competitions,” Gronski said, “but the girls were in a really good state of being. They were excited and ready to throw.”
This excitement carried through into their performance.
Sometimes, I don’t even remembered what [performing] is like afterwards,” Beihoffer said. “I just remember standing after we had stunted. I was watching the rest of the team finish our tumbling sequence. When everybody hits, we cheer for them and we clap. I just remember thinking, ‘Yeah, we’ve got this! We can do it!’”
After all of the performances, all of the teams sat down and waited for the judges to call out the names of the five teams going to state. The Prospect girls sat in a circle, crossed their arms and held each others pinkies and listened for their name. The judges called out fifth, fourth and third places. The girls were confident they would get one of the remaining two spots.
“The moment when they said Maine South [for second place], I remember I covered my mouth with my hands, and I was just looking at everybody’s faces,” Beihoffer said. “We just knew.”
image1The judges announced Prospect cheer team as the sectional champs, with a score of 90.07, the highest score in Prospect cheer history. From there, a large-scale celebration took place, complete with tears and massive hugs.
“It was just one of those moments as a coach that you’re just so proud of everything they’ve accomplished,” Gronski said. “To have us win sectionals is something unbelievable.”
The girls left for state Thursday, Feb. 4, and are scheduled to be the last large varsity team to perform on day one of the competition. Their goal is to qualify for day two, which would mean getting at least tenth place at state. They believe this is possible since their score is currently tenth of the 25 teams selected for state. Gronski knows this will be difficult, but she has high hopes for the team.
“State is going to be an entirely different venue for the girls,” Gronski said. “I want them to go out there with confidence and perform better than they ever had before. What’s the worst that could happen? We get tenth at state? That’s still something to be proud of.”