Norwin competitive spirit team makes states for eighth straight year

Sunday, January 12, 2020 | 9:33 AM

Norwin’s competitive spirit squad loves the taste of chocolate.

The Knights qualified for the PIAA championships — held Jan. 10-11 in Hershey — for the eighth consecutive year.

Success breeds success on the Norwin campus.

“We qualified in the small division, competing with 15 girls,” coach Linda Rundy said. “We’ve qualified for states every year since the Norwin competition program began eight years ago.

“This was the first year we weren’t competing as a large team. We narrowed the team down to compete in small division with our elite athletes, and expectations were definitely raised for this season.”

Norwin advanced to states after placing fifth in the small team division at the eighth WPIAL competitive spirit championships held Jan. 4 at Hempfield.

The Knights achieved a 72.8-point total, trailing only Pine-Richland (81.85), South Fayette (80.75), South Park (78.7) and Shaler (76.6).

“We had a strong performance,” Rundy said. “We set goals early to do skills we have never attempted before. We wanted to be able to hang at a higher level.”

Senior leadership for the Knights has been provided by the trio of Kendra Rabo, Gabby Guldin and Hannah Patalsky.

The junior class is represented by Katie Black, Emma Guldin, Ava Imro, Alivia Jarusinsky and Gracie Rady.

Sophomore athletes are Laiken Burmeister, Macie Daugherty, Kassidee Scalise and Makenzie Turkowski.

And five freshmen — Gabby Andrykovitch, Kalea Armstrong, Jenna Varney, Rylan Breen and Maddy Beisler — joined the 2019-20 squad.

Rabo and Black serve as team captains.

“Our captains are really driven and hard working,” Rundy said. “Kendra, our senior, is definitely our motivator and voice of reason, while Katie, our junior, is technical and a problem solver. They work wonderful together and are great leaders.”

Routines at the WPIAL finals included cheer, stunts, tumbling, pyramids and dancing within a time limit.

Teams must have at least five members, and can have as many as 30, to participate in the competitive spirit championships.

“We’ve hit perfect routines quite a few times this season, but the level of energy at Hempfield and at the regional qualifier at Slippery Rock were unmatched,” said Rundy, whose assistants are Spencer Rundy-Murin, Lindsey Meyer and Challon Fisher.

A total of 33 teams competed at this year’s WPIAL finals, with 15 in the small varsity division (five to 15 competitors). Norwin was one of 22 squads in Class AAA.


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