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On the rise: Cheer teams reach new heights as local competition stiffens

A loud crowd gathered in the Croswell-Lexington High School gym Wednesday night to watch the second of three BWAC cheerleading competitions and celebrate the league’s seniors.

As tradition continues, Richmond finished first with a season-high total score of 783.74 points – a total greater than their previous two state championship scores, putting the Blue Devils on track for another exciting postseason.

The BWAC honored the cheerleaders in the class of 2023 during Wednesday's league meet at Cros-Lex High School. (Courtesy | Julia Seaman)

“The kids have really been focusing in on the details and staying focused on themselves," head coach Kelli Matthes said. "We just had a feeling Wednesday was going to be a big night for us, and it really was, so we were really pleased.

“There were a lot of people there and all the seniors in the whole league were honored, so the meet had that little bit of extra excitement.”

Trailing close behind Richmond and finishing even closer to each other, the Cros-Lex and Armada teams took second and third, respectively, by just a .22-point margin. The Pioneers finished with 768.26 points and the Tigers totaled 768.04, both of which were also season-high scores.

“We had a rough couple of weeks…with sicknesses and injury. That makes it a little more difficult to keep going, but we always do. The girls are very relentless when it comes to that,” Cros-Lex head coach Katie Tomlinson.

“That’s something we take seriously in our program. We always find a way to make it work and to push through. We just have that mentality that we’re never going to back down, even when things aren’t in our favor.”

Together, these three squads have produced some of the highest scores in the state this season, and they continue to push one another as the postseason approaches.

“It’s exciting for our league to have so many good teams in it,” Tomlinson said. “It’s awesome that we’re kind of all small towns and to see how much talent has come from so many of our programs is really fun. And it’s nice to compete against strong teams like that and we’re all pushing each other to be our best.”

Matthes said she would agree, saying that the local teams have come a long way in her 15 years of coaching at Richmond.

“To look at all where all the programs were, ours included, way back in the beginning to where everybody is now, is just a testament to what our area of the state is doing,” she said. “When you have to face teams week in and week out in your league, the stronger they get, the stronger you’re going to get and that’s going to push you and your kids.”

Algonac finished fourth overall with 707.78 points, which is another testament to the growth teams within the league are seeing. Last season, the Muskrats averaged just 680 points in BWAC meets to place fourth. Now, by the second league meet of the season, they’ve already cracked 700 points.

Almont was fifth with 643.8 points, Yale took sixth (620.86), North Branch was seventh (588.1), and Imlay City finished eighth (574.5).

The third and final BWAC competition of the season will be next Wednesday, Feb. 8 at Algonac.


For in-game updates and other news, follow Calli on Twitter @ newberry_calli

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