Pine-Richland cheer squad claims regional title
By: Kevin Lohman
Friday, January 4, 2019 | 7:06 PM
One week before competing in the UCA Allegheny Regional championship, one of the athletes on the Pine-Richland competitive cheerleading team suffered an ankle injury, throwing the entire group’s routine into disarray.
However, what originally appeared to be a setback for the Rams ended up only being a speed bump as the squad reinvented and adapted their routine prior to the regional event at Slippery Rock on Dec. 2, managing to claim first- place honors in both the small varsity division, and the game day medium varsity division.
The team’s noteworthy performance, despite the challenging circumstances, is a byproduct of solid senior leadership and experience, according to coach Corey Doyle.
“We have some inexperience with four freshmen on the roster but we do have three seniors, and they’re all captains — Holly Stewart, Ally Czerski and Makenzie Marburger. They really lead the team,” Doyle said.
“They just lead a lot by example, they really carry the team and help keep the new girls focused on what they need to be focused on. When things get crazy with competitions and everything, I know we can count on them to keep us on the right track.”
As a result of their impressive showing at UCA regionals, the Rams earned a bid to the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championships, held on Feb. 8-10, at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.
Yet, before the group turns its attention to the national competition, it has its focus on a local crown. On Saturday, Pine-Richland traveled to Hempfield High School to compete in the WPIAL competitive spirit championships where Doyle said the goal was capturing the small varsity title. Results were unavailable prior to this edition’s deadline.
If the team is able to accomplish its goal, it will earn its seventh consecutive bid to the PIAA championships, Jan. 11-12, in Hershey.
With about a month in between the UCA Regionals at Slippery Rock and the WPIAL championships, Pine-Richland has been making wise use of its time as it nails down the details on its routine.
“We had that time so we put in some upgrades to our routine, and really just focused on cleaning everything up,” Doyle said.
“We want to make sure we score well and take care of all the smaller details on our routine. We’re just making sure that everyone has the right mindset and is ready to go. Our focus is on us, and that’s all. We’re where we want ourselves to be.”
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.