Norwin spirit prepares for nationals

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Monday, January 29, 2018 | 11:00 PM


After parlaying a second-place finish in the large group division at the WPIAL competitive spirit championships into a PIAA championship berth, Norwin capitalized on its opportunity by putting together a strong two-day showing at the state tournament Jan. 19-20 at Giant Center in Hershey.

Norwin scored well enough to make it out of the 22-team preliminary round before finishing with the second-highest score in the large group semifinals, where its total of 74.57 trailed only Exeter Township's 78.03. The team did not advance to the finals at PIAAs, but according to coach Linda Rundy, they finished on a high note.

“The first day they had it a little rough, but the second day they really performed to their fullest. They had a drop during the first day, one of our stunts didn't go completely up. It's something they hit clean on all year long, but with the big arena it's normal to be a little nervous going in,” Rundy said.

“But this is a very talented bunch of girls, and they recovered. This is one of the best teams that I've had in the ten years I've been coaching here. The best part was that their scores went up from the first day to the second day by at least 12 points from each judge.”

Norwin hopes to carry its momentum from the second day of the PIAA competition over to its next endeavor, the 2018 UCA National High School Cheerleading Championships on Feb. 10-11 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.

This is the first time the Knights cheerleaders have competed in the national championships despite having qualified in previous years. The team secured their bid to nationals this year because of their first-place finish at the UCA Allegheny Regional competition Dec. 3 at Slippery Rock.

“Honestly, no, I never thought we would have this type of opportunity to go to nationals,” said senior Maddie Rendulic, who has been cheering for Norwin since seventh grade.

“It was the best feeling ever, finding out that we'd have a chance to go. I've never even been to Disney, personally, and to be able to go for cheer and to go with 26 of my really good friends, it's just going to be so great. These are going to be memories that I won't forget.”

Rendulic is one of nine seniors on the team, captained by Mary Guldin, Courteney Hohman and Sierra Low. Norwin is coached by Rundy and her daughter, Spencer Rundy, along with Caylyn Oliver and Heather Zeola.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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