TOPEKA — The Osawatomie High School cheerleaders continued their dynasty of excellence in the KSHSAA Game Day Spirit Showcase Competition.
For the third year of the event’s existence, the Osawatomie Dazzlers advanced to the finals of the competition held at Stormont Vail Event Center in Topeka on Saturday, Nov. 23.
The Osawatomie Dazzlers placed second in the state for Class 3A.
Osawatomie won the state title in Class 4A the first year the event was held. The Dazzlers were runner-up in Class 4A last year.
Members of the Class 3A state runner-up Osawatomie Dazzlers are: Karli Reese, Claire Hall, Avery Dempsey, Berlynn Pennock, Rosalyn Johnson, Lydia Beets, Sahara Bell, Kenzie Heppler, Jaycie Roseberry, Hannah Manning, co-captain Allie Lagasse, Hannah Cooke, Regan Badders, Jaci Brewer, Hailey O’Dell, Grace Hendrickson, co-captain Emma Hall and Sydney Booe.
Angela Pennock is the Osawatomie Dazzlers coach this season. Lina Needham, who coached the Dazzlers for many years, was the coach when the team won the title in 2017. Britnie Wright coached the program last season.
“The overall Game Day experience was a lot of fun,” Pennock said. “It was exciting to see all the girls’ hard work pay off. The day started with our preliminary performances. We performed our crowd leading (cheer), band chant, and fight song.
“Each performance is timed and has a one minute time limit,” she said. “Between performances there are scheduled practice times. It was all ran very smoothly by KSHSAA. After all the 3A schools completed preliminary performances, the finalists were announced.”
Class 3A had 17 teams competing in the Game Day Spirit Showcase. The top six teams advance to the finals. First-, second- and third- place teams received team trophies and individual medals. Fourth place teams were awarded medals.
“Before finals we were able to review our score sheets and make a few changes before we performed,” Pennock said. “For finals, the girls perform for a continuous three minutes. They perform their band chant followed by a sideline situational that the announcer calls out, such as a third-down or close to a touchdown, and the squad must respond appropriately with an offense or defensive chant. Then they perform their crowd leading cheer and end with the fight song.”
The Osawatomie Dazzlers train year-round for the team, Pennock said. It is part of their high school class routine. They cheer for football and basketball games.
The team began preparing last spring, Pennock said.
“We use our summer practices and camp to come together as a squad, set goals, and work towards reaching them,” Pennock said. “During school we continue our practices and even throw in some 6 a.m. practices during the school week. To say they work hard is an understatement.
“On top of preparing for state they cheer at all the football games, dance at halftime of home games, host Little Dazzlers cheer and dance camps, lead pep assemblies and make homecoming signs,” she said. “The list of responsibilities goes on, and these ladies handle it all like champions.”
Competing in the state event for the third year in a row, Osawatomie was able to go back through its scores from the previous years to focus on their routine.
The community has rallied around the team, making it a great experience for everyone, Pennock said.
“We had guest judges come in and score us during practice and we held a community showcase the Sunday before state,” Pennock said. “The parents hosted a team dinner the Thursday before state,and it was a great way to spend time together as a team and just have fun while enjoying some delicious food.
“The day before state the entire school sent us off as the fight song played,” she said. “The staff and students lined the halls clapping and cheering as the Dazzlers walked through the hallways. The parents also gave us a send-off with special gift bags and a decorated bus.”
The Osawatomie Dazzlers represented the school and community at state and left with the second-place trophy, Pennock sad.
“To have the opportunity to coach these young ladies and to see them succeed at such a high level makes me proud beyond words,” she said.