Team qualifies for nationals

There hasn’t been much to cheer about in the last 12 months, but the Rosemount High School cheer team has made the best of it.

The team is prepping for the National High School Cheerleading Championship in April for the seventh year in a row.

“Our season has been through all the ups and downs of the pandemic,” coach Sally Holman said. “Starting by holding virtual tryouts, making it through shutdowns, and rules changes. Our athletes remained positive and determined to make this season great.”

The team is a regular at nationals, but its performance in 2021 will look a bit different.

The District 196 School Board denied the team’s request to travel to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, this month.

So, the team will submit a video of its performance instead.

The teams moving on to the finals will be announced April 12, and national winners April 23.

Rosemount has high expectations. Last year the team reached the semifinals for its Gameday routine.

One reason for the higher expectations is the experience on the squad.

“Seventeen seniors is a lot, and we’ve had many of them on our team for years,” Holman said. “They have put so much hard work over the years for this season and it’s so hard to have it not played out the way they imagined. I am so proud of all my seniors this year, they have all remained committed and positive. This type of leadership carries throughout the team and sets the tone for the season.”

Rosemount had the largest team in the state with 30 members.

The team qualified for nationals on Oct. 31 at the 10,000 Lakes Universal Cheerleaders Association Regional competition at Minnetonka high school. The team placed first in the Super Varsity Non Tumble division and third in the Game Day Varsity Non Tumble division. The team also placed first in the Gameday Varsity NT division out of 11 other teams at the Minnesota State Cheerleading Championship hosted by the Minnesota Cheerleading Coaches Association Feb. 27 at the St. Paul RiverCentre.

It was the team’s first state title for Gameday, as the team just started competing in the category three years ago.

“Our girls shine when that Gameday music comes on and you can truly see their love for cheer come through,” Holman said.

They were able to compete in person at four events and one virtually during the season.

“We try to attend between six to eight competitions each year,” Holman said. “The great part about competing for cheer is we do not come in contact with other athletes or teams, so we were able to hold competitions somewhat normal. We were just missing the spectator portion of the competition.”

They were able to practice their routines and work around various guidelines for the past 12 months.

“We have been through all the changes in sports,” Holman said. “We have held virtual practices when on shutdown, cheered to empty stands at football games due to spectator restrictions, athletes have conditioned and trained individually, practiced outside, worn masks, so many changes it’s hard to remember at times. I think the biggest bummer has been the inability to invite friends to attend their competitions as each athlete can only have two spectators.”

Athletes have had to miss competitions due to quarantines and injuries, but they were able to make it work.

“The girls came with a positive attitude and were able to fill in spots from missing athletes,” Holman said. “At state we were missing four athletes, which is a lot of changes, making that state title even more rewarding.”

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