BLOOMINGTON – The hearts of the Morris competitive cheerleading team had to be thumping out of their chests. Down at the much delayed Mahomet-Seymour Sectional, the Redskins finally had a chance to compete.
Facing a touch of adversity in their routine, the locals were simply not expecting to win the medium division Thursday. Yet four other names had been called before them – Peoria High School, Manteno, Bloomington and Champaign Centennial – and only one qualifying spot remained.
“During the performance, we were hitting everything the way they were supposed to ,” Morris coach Kristin Sanders said. “Their energy was high and everything was on point. We did have a drop at the end, but otherwise they couldn’t have been any better. One drop couldn’t hurt the entire package.”
“We felt that we were going to make it out. We were thinking top five, but we didn’t think we’d win it,” Morris captain Brittany Kenney said.
But they did.
“We’re pretty excited. I don’t think we were expecting to get first,” captain Abby Dergo said. “All of out hard work has paid off and there are still two more days to go. We’re enjoying it now, but we have to come back [today] and do even better.
Morris will be staying the night in Bloomington and perform at state today at the same place the sectional was held. The Redskins will perform at 1 p.m. in the preliminaries.
“It was definitely not our best performance,” captain Morgan Hussey said. “We do have room for improvement and that is what we are going to do – improve.”
The team had faced adversity just leading up to the delayed sectional performance. It was a performance that was supposed to be last Saturday but was canceled because of heavy snow. Then is was supposed to be on Tuesday, but was snowed out again. Then it was moved to Thursday at U.S. Cellular Coliseum instead of M-S High School.
By the time things settled, Morris was ready to go.
“We knew we had to stay focused and keep our heads in the game,” captain Jacqueline Murphy said about the unexpected wait for the sectional to get played. “Everyone stayed on the same page. We all just wanted to make it to state and now we’re here and we get to compete three days in a row down here now.”
Assuming they advance today, the finals are back at the same venue Saturday.
“I think we can do it if we stay focused and take 150 seconds at a time,” Dergo said. “It’s six more minutes now.”