After surprising finish, CF squad leaves state tourney low in spirit

Two minutes and 30 seconds — that’s how much time the competition cheerleaders had to impress the judges during their state performance this past Saturday, Nov. 7.

The squad had high hopes this year stemming from disappointing performances the past two years after winning the state titles in 2005 and 2006.

In an attempt to spice things up, this year’s routine consisted of a tumbling sequence followed by five stunts. After the stunts came the cheer and dance followed by the ending pyramid.

On Saturday when the competition squad walked into the Veteran’s Auditorium in Des Moines and stepped onto the mat, they did their whole routine with virtually no fault. Afterwards, a painful waiting game for the judges’ scores and comments emerged.

“We walked off that mat after our performance thinking we really might have gotten first because we did so good,” sophomore cheerleader Sungha Nielsen said.

They had high hopes, especially since schools kept requesting to see their performances at state throughout the season.

When all of the other squads’ performances were finished, the teams gathered around the mat. The judges began at seventh place and named off the placings of each team. Needless to say, it came as a shock to everyone when fifth place was announced followed by Cedar Falls.

“Right as they were announcing us for fifth, the whole stadium went silent,” Nielsen said.

Senior captains Mackenzie Meeker and Jennifer Pham stepped on the mat to accept the trophy and brought it back to their team, at that point very low-spirited.

“Cedar Falls cheerleaders have never placed as low as fifth at State,” Nielsen said.

The girls finally received their deductions sheet and saw that the judges had only made comments on very minute details, not explaining their reasoning behind the extremely low scores.

Despite the disappointment, the competition squad is optimistic about a future run at State.

“We hope that we will be able to impress the judge’s next year, and we’re willing to work extra hard to place well,” Nielsen said.

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