St. Edmond High School cheer squad took first place at the 21st Iowa State Cheerleading Championship.
The Catholic school team brought home the first place trophy in the small school, division 2A category at the competition, held Nov. 5 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
There were 18 teams competing in the division, with St. Edmond the crown champions.
"We participate every year in the state cheerleading championships," Amanda Barwin, cheer squad coach, said. "We have a choreographer to come up with a two and a half minute routine that includes tumbling, cheering, stunting and dancing, with music and words."
The 12 girls of the school's competition squad worked hard to earn the title, Barwin said.
"The girls put a lot of hours of practice in," she said. "We had some eight-hour practices between our stunt groups and large groups leading up to competition. It take a lot of work. Everyone has to be in sync and smile at the same."
The practice for the state competition was in addition to the squad's regular practices and game practices, Barwin said.
At the state championships, the squad had two groups competing in the stunt group category. They made it to the finals, and placed second in class 2A, Barwin said.
"They do a stunt for one minute," she said. "If you've done stunting before, you know it can be very tiring."
The squad also competed in the small school sideline division, Barwin said.
"There's very little tumbling and very little stunting," she said. "It's showing how you can lead a crowd, and your motion techniques."
Barwin said it was exciting for the team to rank first place in their division, especially because they were considered an underdog team.
"We graduated eight seniors off of last year's squad, that had placed third," she said. "This was a rebuilding year. Everyone said it's not going to be good. These girls stepped up to the challenge and took home the trophy."
Cheerleading requires as much athleticism and dedication as any sport, Barwin said.
"I train them like athletes," she said. "I require the girls to practice as much as once a week during the summer. They have to be able to run two miles in a certain amount of time, every day. We do a lot of conditioning."
Barwin was told that St. Edmond was the largest division they've had at the championships in any class, she said.
The cheer squad continues to practice and performing at the high school's basketball games and wrestling meets. They are also preparing a winter cheerleading clinic for kids, Barwin said.
"We continue to just work on our stunting," she said. "And our games are a lot of fun, practice-wise, because we can get in front of a crowd and showcase our skills."
Contact Brandon L. Summers at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com