By Anthony Santangelo, sports editor 

The varsity cheer team advanced to the second day of state for the first time in it’s program’s history. The team placed 8th out of 25 teams that participated in the state competition.

“I was just really happy to be at state because there are so many teams that didn’t get the chance to go and honestly 8th is an improvement from last year.”

According to senior Kayomi Hirano, the team has more passion and fight this year because they are very close. The team only lost three seniors last year after placing 10th at state.

The team also nailed their performance at sectionals according to Hirano. The team was able to beat out, MSL champ, Hoffman Estates to reclaim their dominance at the sectional level.

“We had a slight error in our sectional performance,” Cheer Coach Jackie Gronski said. “We kept hearing teams being called and then when it got down to the second place team we were like, ‘all right it’s either one or two.’”

Some of the improvements this season, like showmanship and energy, enabled the girls to win the sectional for the second time in the last three years.

“The girls had excellent facials,” Gronski said. “They made the judges want to come on the floor and dance with them because they just had that good energy that you would want to have when you are performing.”

This year’s team placed top five at all five of their competitions prior to sectionals. What’s even more impressive about the girl’s sectional win is that they only placed third at the MSL competition.

“The team this year compared to last year has more skill,” Gronski said. “They were more comfortable working their lead entries and had better execution on their tumbling skills.”

According to Hirano, last year’s team was a little crazier in terms of competition results compared to this year. Hirano was one of the seniors that won the sectional back during the 2015-2016 season.

“Next season our goal is, for sure, top five,” Gronski said. “The girls are already motivated to start working different skills and increase their tumbling so we can be more prepared.”