Nome cheerleaders win State Championships
The Nome Nanooks cheerleaders took first place in the Alaska State Activities Association’s Large Division Championships held on March 22 in Anchorage. They competed against some of the state’s biggest schools and defeated them all.
Ironically, the previous week at the regional championships at Dimond High the Nanooks didn’t even place. They were third. But because the state championships are open, anybody can enter, cheer coach Rebekah Albertson decided they were going to state.
“The fact that we got third place in our region with the level of difficulty and the amount of hard work we had put into it didn’t sit well with anybody on the team,” said Albertson. She felt, and her feelings were shared by other coaches she communicated with, that there were inconsistencies in the judging at the regionals.
“The more people that I talked to about it the more confidence I had in bringing my team to state,” said Albertson. The idea was they could get the experience and prove that their routine was a great routine.
After the regionals the team set to work fundraising “like crazy.”
“There’s only a week between regions and the state competition,” said Albertson. “We fundraised all spring break and with the support of the Nome community we were able to pay our way to the state competition.”
Fourteen cheerleaders went to the state championships. That put them into the Large Category.
Last year they’d been in the co-ed category because there were two boys on the squad. This year there was one male cheerleader. The competition is organized according to the size of the cheer squad rather than the size of the school.
All through the season the cheer squad practiced two hours a day, Monday through Saturday. If there was a game they’d practice for two hours first and then cheer at the game. During spring break they maintained that schedule.
“So leading up to the state, between regions and state, we had 14 practice hours in before the state completion. That is refining the routine we’d brought to regions. Upping our difficulty level with the stunting so that we could compete with the larger schools.”
Albertson knew that to compete with bigger schools they’d need to increase the stunting.
“Our flight was cancelled when we were supposed to leave for regions this year and then our flight was cancelled again when we were supposed to leave for state,” said Albertson. She missed both coaches meetings and at state the team arrived with no time left for a warm-up.
“All of the teams got 15 minutes on the mat to go over their routines,” said Albertson.
The Nanooks went in cold.
Coach Albertson says the Nanooks were excited to return home with the big win and that they were able to represent Nome with the bigger schools.
“They wanted to go to state because they wanted to show Alaska ‘We are Nome and this is what we can do.’” The winning cheerleader team consisted of Mackenzie Goodwin, Minnie Clark, Anna Peterson, Talia Cross, Maya Coler, Emily Pomrenke, Kelsie Crisci, Erin Johanson, Courtney Merchant, Kelly Lyon, Ellie Martinson, Ava Earthman, Madison Johnson and JJ Marble.