Morton Cheer makes it to State

Nevaeh Sisneros

Morton District 201’s Varsity Cheer Team took 3rd place at the ICCA state competition and brought home a trophy. The ICCA State Qualifier on December 11 took the top five teams to compete at the ICCA competition on Saturday, January 21, and Morton placed first at the qualifier. The ICCA Cheer Competition is the Illinois Cheer Coach’s Association Competition that occurs every year at the Abraham Lincoln Convention Center in Springfield. The Varsity Cheer Team left Friday evening on a coach bus, for a 3-hour drive to Springfield where they stayed the night at the Carpenter Street Hotel, just two minutes from the Convention Center. 10 cheer teams competed against Morton in the large varsity division. 

Taken by Bianca Frutos, Varsity cheer coach

The night before the competition the girls went to IHOP and did not return to the hotel until 3 that morning. The cheerleaders had to be up by 8 a.m. to start preparing for the competition,  so the lack of sleep affected some of the members. Senior Michelle Moran, said, “The trip was very stressful and draining. We did not get to go to sleep until 3 a.m. and it was just very all over the place at times. I felt like I couldn’t even really enjoy the experience.”

 Senior Fatima Maldonado, described the trip,” The trip was odd, everything that went wrong, did. We didn’t sleep the day before until like 3-4 am since we had not eaten. Before that everyone was trying to unwind after the car ride while others were not respecting others’ privacy.”

Taken by Bianca Frutos, Varsity cheer coach

Though the trip itself was long, the preparation that went into the competition was a lot longer. Maldonado outlined the preparation that went into the routine, “prepping for State was overwhelming, I felt as if we are all capable of performing the best if we had a choice of who was in and who wasn’t. It was a lot of pressure put on everyone to master their stunts. We spent at least 2.5 hours a day for prepping, and like some days, 4.5 hours at least once a week.”

 The Cheerleaders needed to be in full uniform, hair styled the same way, and corresponding makeup before they even made it to the convention center at 10:30 Saturday morning. The Varsity team competed in a 2-minute 37-second routine consisting of a dance and a cheer. The dance contained a pyramid which is a full team stunt sequence. Within both the dance and the cheer Morton chose to have 3 jump sequences.

The cheer team dropped a stunt and missed skill points within that stunt because they fell, but still came out with a third-place win. Varsity’s Senior cheer captain, Alexys Alvarez said, “I am happy with the placement, but I do feel as if it was not our best performance as a team.” This opinion was also shared amongst other members of the team, “In State, we could have done so much better but considering the performance we gave, I’m glad we placed.” Maldonado added.

The competition itself was some of the team’s last chance to compete as a high school athlete since 7 of the 21 competing members were seniors. “Not everyone in the team competed, and the people that should have competed were put as alternates. Almost everyone on the matt contributed to the overall success of the team.” Maldonado added.

Moran expressed her love for the sport ” Cheer is all about adrenaline. When you step onto that mat you just go blank and your muscle memory comes to play, and when you get off it’s the most heartbreaking or illuminating feeling ever. I have poured my heart and soul into cheerleading. I love it with all of my heart. I didn’t get to show it on the mat much this season because of biased hierarchies, but my love for the sport is everlasting. The point of a good environment and coaching are crucial to this sport because they could diminish someone’s whole being. Although this year wasn’t what seniors were expecting, we luckily had our teammates to make it enjoyable. In such a love-hate environment, we are fortunate enough to have a team that is amazing and one I’ll personally never forget.”

Cheerleading is a very controversial sport, but the Morton West Cheer Team made the most of what they could with the season. Coming home with a 3rd place ICCA State trophy was definitely rewarding after the year-long preparation that went into competing.