Bethel Park, Butler claim PIAA competitive spirit championships
Saturday, January 12, 2019 | 5:45 PM
Members of the Bethel Park competitive spirit team are getting pretty comfortable at the top of the pyramid … or podium.
For the second time in three years, they claimed a PIAA title Saturday in Hershey.
Bethel Park tallied a score of 92.33 in the final round to edge South Park (89.15) for the PIAA small division title.
“I am so happy for the girls,” coach Christina Zedreck said. “Today, they performed the best routine they could and hit all their stunts. They were so proud of themselves when they came off, and that’s all I asked for.”
Bethel Park, which has won the past two WPIAL titles, captured the 2017 state title and was a runner-up last season.
Like in past seasons, teams performed a 2-minute, 30-second routine that included partner stunts, tumbling and pyramids.
“The team was absolutely ecstatic when we won,” Zedreck said. “They work so hard to be the best cheerleading squad they can be.”
Bethel Park wasn’t the only WPIAL squad to return home Saturday with a first-place trophy.
Butler captured the PIAA title in the co-ed division with a score of 89.33.
“The kids performed great,” Butler coach Marianne Miller said. “They focused on their technique and hitting their routine.”
Miller said the team had strong stunts, both the one-on-one stunts with the boys and girls, as well as the girl-only stunts. And she was pleased with the cheer portion of the competition.
“Our cheer really sets us apart from other teams,” she said. “It’s unique and clean and easy to follow. The crowd loves to yell back.”
The Golden Tornado narrowly edged McDowell (88.68) and Downingtown West (88.57) for their third state title. They were runners-up in the co-ed division last year.
“It feels amazing,” senior Logan Francis said. “We’ve been working so hard for this. I’m so proud of this team.”
Fellow senior leaders include Aliegh Kradel, Kamryn Heller, Nathan Baker, J.R. Herold and Logan Donnel.
“It felt pretty good (to win),” said Donnel, one of three boys on the team. “I looked at all my teammates and saw all my teammates crying. They were all really happy.”
Butler also has won the past two WPIAL titles in the large squad division.
“It was a lot of hard work (preparing for the competitions),” Baker said. “It was a lot of sleepless nights.”
Other WPIAL teams that reached Saturday’s PIAA finals included: Pine-Richland (fourth) and South Fayette (11th) in the small division; Thomas Jefferson (second), Shaler (third), North Allegheny (fourth), Penn-Trafford (sixth), Franklin Regional (10th) and Elizabeth Forward (11th) in the medium division; and Baldwin (fourth) in the large division.
Bill Hartlep is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can reach Bill at [email protected] or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.