WHS cheer ‘hits zero’ at state competition, places 2nd


The WHS cheer team takes a group photo after performing at the state competition at Lindenwood University. “I think that, speaking for all of the seniors, it feels absolutely amazing [to have done so good at state],” Paige Whittall said. “I think that this is all that we could have asked for ending our senior competition season.” The team will be cheering at Saint Francis Borgia Regional High School for the WHS basketball team’s Turkey Tournament on Nov. 26.

The WHS cheer team left the 2019 state competition filled with pride as they placed second with zero deductions for their team division. An activity that includes constant jumping, stepping, tumbling and stunting is the perfect recipe for mistakes, but the girls were the only team among their division without any slip-ups. 

“To hit zero in cheer means that you receive zero deductions,” cheer coach Katelyn Huber said. “This means you didn’t receive any point deductions for time violations, stepping off the mat or on a sign, or for dropping a stunt or tumbling. There are a lot of things that can result in a deduction, so it is not an easy feat.”

After receiving five deductions with a score of 91.30 at St. Louis Regionals, the cheer team set out to work extremely hard to perform better at state. Despite a few weather-caused practice cancellations, the girls put their heads together and powered through—eager to improve their skills and reach their goals. 

“We just worked so hard every day to get ready for state,” senior Paige Whittall said.  “Every single day, we worked on things that would make our routine better. If one aspect of our routine was lacking, then we would work on that until all of our routine as a whole [were] perfect.”

Although most seniors have been cheering for several years, senior Maria Ruth was one out of many who experienced both the competitive and friendly sides of cheer for the first time this school year. 

“It was all new to me. I had only seen competitions on TV shows or movies, which we all know is not realistic because it’s Hollywood,” Ruth said. “But what I didn’t expect was how positive and supportive each team was towards everyone else. In the past, I’ve always done sports and it’s never been like that. It was really refreshing.”

Confidence was key for the girls as they all felt they would do well before the competition even started. Due to their success, a state board will be placed in the Big Blue Jay Gymnasium during the basketball season. As for future competitions, Huber plans for her team to place higher on the scoreboard.

“We are looking forward to adding difficulty to our routine,” Huber said. “More spinning and inversions in our stunts, more flexibility, more team tumbling. [The] low difficulty is what put us in second place, next year, we’re coming for first.”