PORTLAND – McMinnville officially joined the ranks of the state's elite cheerleading programs Saturday by winning it's first state title in the annual OSAA championship at Memorial Coliseum.
The Grizzlies upset four-time defending champion Thurston to win the Coed Large division, setting off a massive celebration amongst the teams athletes and coaches.
In the all-day competition, Newberg won it's fifth consecutive title, edging David Douglas for the Coed Small title, while Westview returned to the ranks of title winners in the 6A division after a five-year layoff.
South Albany defended its title at 5A, Gladstone won at 4A after finishing second last year and Delphian of Sheridan defended its title in the 3A division.
McMinnville's program has been on the cusp of a title for years, finishing second in 2009, '13 and last year. But, the win this year was somewhat out of the blue as the team had finished second in competitions five times in January to three different teams: Centennial, Lebanon and Thurston. Saturday, the Grizzlies performed near flawlessly, and edged the Colts 181.40 to 178.20 in overall judging. Lebanon finished third, and Centennial placed fifth behind Hidden Valley.
The title was the first in an OSAA sport or activity since the girls swim team won in 2004.
Westview won five title in six years through 2012, but crosstown rival Aloha won three of the next four years at 6A. Saturday, Westview edged Aloha 190.50-180.90.
Newberg won the past four years in the 6A Small division, but moved to the Coed Small division this year after adding a male teammate, who girls on the team had been urging to join for three years, they said. Moving to that division put the Tigers up against David Douglas, which won the division last year, and had won at 6A Large in 2015.
Although David Douglas had a strong performance, scoring 200.70, Newberg hit the day's top score at 210.90. South Albany had the second highest score at 204.40, winning by 21 points over The Dalles.
South Albany had the day's top score for its overall routine, edging David Douglas in that category 59-58.
Gladstone's win at 4A reversed last year's top finishers as the Gladiators beat defending champion Sweet Home by just 0.20 points: 175.80-175.60. Henley placed third at 172.20.
Delphian's performance, scoring 170.30, would have put it in the top five in the next highest divisions despite having only one senior on its roster.
CAPTAINS: Eva Drazkowski, Jr., Maxine Anderson, Jr.
The annual winter of championships begins is weekly crusade Saturday
Feb. 7, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
They begin with the most exacting performances available and continues four more weekends through the loudest performances available in order to crown champions in four sports beginning Saturday with the state Cheerleading championships at Memorial Coliseum.
The field includes 75 schools separated into seven divisions, four of which have 12 or more schools represented. Competition begins at 9 a.m. for the morning session that involves smaller schools, and an afternoon session that features larger schools and coed teams.
Cheerleading is the first of four state championships for sports sanctioned by the Oregon School Activities Association.
The state championships for swimming will be held Feb. 15-16 at Mt. Hood Community College, the state wrestling championships will be conducted at Memorial Coliseum Feb. 22-23, and two weeks of state basketball tournaments will overtake high school, college and community gyms the following two weekends, ending with the Class 6A boys and girls title games at the Rose Garden, March 9.
Jesuit has won the last four Class 6A boys basketball titles, although Springfield has the longest running string of titles with its coed cheerleading team with seven. The Millers, though, will compete in the Class 5A small division Saturday, taking part in one of the most drama-filled divisions. Wilson, last year's defending champion, returns, as does West Albany, which won the division two years ago.
South Medford is the defending Class 6A girls champion, having gone unbeaten last year.
Westview, Wilson are among the winners at Jesuit's Crusader Challenge
Jan. 26, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
With just two weeks left before the state championships, Westview showed off it's still the team to beat Saturday by winning the large division at the Sixth Annual Crusader Challenge at Jesuit High Saturday.
Westview, which won the Class 6A small division state title a year ago, won the 6A/5A large division Saturday, while Wlson won the Class 5A small division and North Marion won at Class 4A.
Clatskanie, second at state a year ago, won the Class 3A division.
The two surprises were Gresham winning the Class 6A small division, and South Albany winning the Coed division. Gresham placed seventh in the 6A/5A Large final last year, while South Albany did not compete at state.
Westview has won a state title or finished second in each of the last eight years.
The final results played out as the state finals did a year ago, in part because the field was just half the size as a year earlier when the host school was able to secure a spring-cushioned floor.
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March 27, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
After missing out on a state title in fall for the first time in 20 years, Jesuit High rallied with titles in boys basketball and girls swimming this winter in OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires championship finals.
The basketball team went so far as to become the first team to score a four-peat at any level, beating upstart Lake Oswego in the Class 6A final at the Rose Garden.
In other highlights, South Medford, which had never played past the quarterfinals, won the 6A girls basketball title with an unbeaten season.
And, Dayton, a runner-up the past two years in 3A boys basketball, with several key players having lost the 3A football title on the final play, won the state title, beating Horizon Christian - its nemesis the past two years - in the final.
The winter included the stall-ball tactic used by Willamette in the 5A girls hoop final that got some afficianados calling for a shot clock.
Summit won both boys and girls team swim titles - the second sport the school has won both boys and girls team titles to go along with cross country in fall.
Here is a list of the winter sports champions:
6A: Jesuit 52, Lake Oswego 42
5A: Corvallis 63, Milwaukie 51
4A: Central 49, Phoenix 47
3A: Dayton 58, Horizon Christian (Tualatin) 35
2A: East Linn Christian 36, Western Mennonite 32
1A: Horizon Christian (Hood River) 58, McKenzie 46
It took only a short while for the state cheerleading championships to vault right into the arena of being labeled a sport rather than activity.
After the three dozen teams competing in the afternoon session congregated on the competition floor at Memorial Coliseum, the fourth place teams in the three categories were announced. In the Class 6A/5A Large division, West Albany took fourth. The team captains collected their trophy, returned to the spot the team had staked out right in front of the awards area and sat in stunned silence.
Then, some of the girls broke down and cried.
West Albany won the state title in the Class 5A Small division last year, but expanded its team and moved up to challenge the much larger schools this year.
They had a fantastic, energetic performance that showed the kind of swagger a defending state champion might have. So when the announcement came that those girls had finished fourth, it caught my attention, too. Fourth? What? No, no, no.
Turns out they did have a great performance according to judges, scoring the second-highest total in the dance and choreography category. They had only an average score in the tumbling/jumps category, though, and were penalized for something known only to the judges.
The penalty, which can be for a variety of reason that include suggestive hip movements, caused them to slip from second to fourth, which is a big difference when you’ve got the idea you might have won.
West Albany had, by far, the most emotional reaction of the awards ceremony, and that included the celebratory screaming from the three teams that finished first: Westview at Class 6A Small; Springfield at Coed; and Tualatin at 6A/5A Large.
Tualatin, which won the state title at Class 6A Small last year, had a better score in tumbling/jumps and smaller penalty.
Mike Fratello, telestrator in hand, might have pointed out that West Albany likely would have won with one more gymnastics element.
That kind of reaction all the cheerleading team had happens in activities quite often because the outcome of a competition is hidden until it’s released. There’s no scoreboard to tell you who’s winning. In a sport, you can have lost by the third quarter and just be waiting for the game to end.
Even sports where the outcome is in some doubt rarely get the kind of reaction involved in Saturday’s awards ceremony. At the state cross country championships, for example, the four teams awarded a trophy are singled and know they’ve at least finished fourth. Then they’re reduced to two - champion and runner-up. When the announcement of second place is made, it’s the signal the other team’s won. At the 2011 championships, only one of the 10 boys or girls team champions seemed to have a pulse when the announcement came.
“If they’re second, then we won, right?”
Yes, that’s how it works.
We’re all familiar with the thrill of victory, but it’s the second and third, even fourth-place finishers that give you a real sense of how important a sport is. Or an activity.
The Millers edge rival Thurston at cheerleading state finals
Feb. 11, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
Springfield overcame a strong performance from rival Thurston to win a state title for the eighth-straight year Saturday at the OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires state cheerleading championships.
Thurston finished ahead of Springfield in the coed division scoring, but had a one-point penalty from its routine and that boosted the Millers ahead by just .55 points, 70.25 to 69.70.
Tualatin and Westview both won titles for the second-straight year, switching their divisions from last year. Tualatin, the Class 6A Small division champion in 2011, won the 6A/5A Large division, while Westview, the large division champion last year, won the 6A Small division title by just 0.7 points over Newberg, which finished second for the third consecutive year.
The Timberwolves edged Clackamas by just 0.72 points, making the event one of the most competitive championships since scoring was added to OSAA results in 2001.
In other finals, Wilson won at Class 5A Small, while Sweet Home won at Class 4A Large. North Marion won at Class 4A Small for the sixth-straight year.
North Douglas won the Class 3A title for the second time in three years.
Westview moves down, while West Albany moves up in size
Feb. 7, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
When the state’s top cheerleading teams take the floor at the Memorial Coliseum Saturday, the line-up of top teams will look significantly different from a year ago as many have switched divisions.
Westview, which has won five of the last seven titles in Class 6A Large, will compete in the 6A Small division, while West Albany, which has won the past three titles at 5A Small, is moving up to the 6A/5A Large group, where it’ll tangle with Tualatin, the 6A Small champion last year.
Wilson, which made a run at the 6A/5A Large division title last year - finishing second to Westview - is returning to the small division, where it’s won titles in three of the past four years and now won’t have to face West Albany.
And Pleasant Hill, which won a title the past four years, is sitting the meet out entirely.
The staple of the competition, though, will continue to be Springfield, which is looking to run its string of Coed division titles to seven straight.
“We look at how many girls we’ve got every year to make our determination of which division we fit into,” Westview coach Melissa Hoekert said this week. “We like to be in the large division, but we had a large class of seniors graduate last year and we just felt we fit better in the small division this year.”
Hoekert said after Westview’s tryouts, there were 14 girls who fit on the varsity team with 13 or more being the dividing line for the large division. There had planned on competing in the large division until two weeks ago.
“We’ve competed in the small division before,” she said. “The big differences are the stunts you can perform and how big you can make your pyramids.”
The Class 6A Small division is likely to be among the most competitive of the finals with 14 schools involved, including four that finished in the top 3 of their finals last year.
“It’s a good change of pace for us,” Westview senior Allie Butler said. “There’s really good competition in that division.
Oregon City, which finished third in the large division, also moved to the small division, where it’ll be looking for its first title or even runner-up spot.
Newberg, which placed second the past two years in the small division, is also looking for its first title.
Lakeridge, which finished third in the small division, also returns.
Westview, Newberg and Oregon City have all won competitions in the past month.
“We think we’ve got an outside shot at winning,” Oregon City Tara Mahoney said. “We have a pretty high degree of difficulty in our routine, so if we can get through it super clean, we’ll be in great shape.”
Mahoney works full-time as a tumbling, stunting and cheerleading coach through her company Thunder Elite, which took over coaching the Oregon City program two years ago. She said the sport is rapidly advancing as college programs offer more scholarships, thanks in part to Title IX requirements.
The University of Oregon recently created an acrobatics and tumbling team in order to add baseball.
“The number of scholarships is definitely helping to make the sport more attractive,” she said.
While the 6A Small division appears highly competitive, the 6A/5A Large division has plenty of intrigue with defending champions lining up against one another. Tualatin tied for the top score in the meet last year at 72.50.
Brookings-Harbor and North Marion will be defending their titles in 4A Large and Small, respectively.