High school competitive cheer: Crystal Lake Central third, Huntley sixth at finals

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The Crystal Lake Central cheerleading team finished third to set a school record for best finish at the state finals at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington Saturday.

The Tigers jumped from fifth place (86.93) on Friday to third Saturday with a score of 89.90 in the medium division. This was Crystal Lake Central's third-straight time performing on Day 2 at state, with the previous two attempts ending in fifth-place finishes.

"It's amazing, our goal this season was to be on podium and the kids have been working insanely hard," Crystal Lake Central coach Elizabeth Brauneis said.

"Coming into today, they had an incredible energy and I could just feel the difference from Day 1, based on performance and just how they walked out there. They knew exactly what they wanted and they were going to make it happen."

According to Brauneis, the team saw their results Friday as something they definitely could improve on to reach their goal for the season. The result was Central's best performance of the year.

The third-place finish completed another successful season for the Tigers. Crystal Lake Central won the Fox Valley Conference Fox Division, were sectional champions at DeKalb and now topped it off with a podium finish at state.

"I'm so proud of this team and how far we've come this year," Crystal Lake Central senior Courtney Lesser said. "I think us coming together as a family and being able to push hard every practice and making sure we leave everything out on the mat is what got us here."

Oak Forest won the medium division with a 92.13 scored and Lemont was second (90.13) just ahead of the Tigers.

The Huntley cheerleading team, who were competing for the first time on Day 2 at state, held on to their sixth-place finish from Day 1 in the large division.  Red Raiders finished with a score of 89.73 just behind Lincoln-Way North (89.97) for a top-five finish. Joliet West won the large division with a score of 94.70.

For Huntley just to still be competing on Day 2 of state meant a lot.

"We were just so excited to be out there today and the experience was amazing," Huntley coach Renee Fowler said. "To be in the that crowd will be a moment we'll never forget."

Huntley is hoping that this trip to Day 2 of state is not a one time thing, but something that the team can continue to build off of in future seasons.

"When the scores were done being read the squad circled up we talked about how much the leadership of the seniors was something we counted on," Fowler said. "Then we looked at all of our other underclassman and thought about what Huntley can do in the future, and we just can't wait."


State Finals

Medium division

1. Oak Forest 92.13, 2. Lemont 90.13, 3. Crystal Lake Central 89.80, 4. Yorkville 89.37, 5. Columbia 88.87, 6. Tinley Park 88.77, 7. Washington 86.67, 8. Wauconda 86.23, 9. Grayslake Central 79.73, 10. Highland 77.80.

Large division

1. Joliet West 94.70, 2. Providence Catholic 93.13, 3. Neuqua Valley 91.30, 4. Sandburg 91.17, 5. Lincoln-Way North 89.97, 6. Huntley 89.73, 7. Lake Zurich 89.20, 8. Stevenson 89.00, 9. Lockport 87.63, 10. Wheaton North 86.97.