Four years ago, the Croswell-Lexington Pioneers were just happy to qualify for the MHSAA Cheerleading State Finals.
But this season, they set out to do something that’s never been done before.
Since 2012, no team other than Pontiac Notre Dame Prep or Richmond has won the Division 3 title, overshadowing Cros-Lex not only at the state level, but in districts and regionals as well.
“It’s always such a battle. At every competition, we’re up against some of the top competition in the state in our division and it has been that way for the past 10 years,” Cros-Lex head coach Katie Tomlinson said. “It’s pushed us to be stronger and better. We couldn’t stay complacent if we wanted to go anywhere.”
Cros-Lex had finished fourth or fifth at the last three state championships with a high score of 774.46.
But on Friday, March 3, after sitting in third place through round two, the Pioneers pulled ahead with a fantastic round-three performance to win the school's first-ever MHSAA State Finals with a score of 776.72.
“Overall, our goal was to win, but it was more so believing that we could. I think that was the biggest thing, trying to convince them that we can actually win,” Tomlinson said. “We stopped shooting for top three or top four and made it our goal to accomplish number one this time around.”
Tomlinson said after they started the season with a score of 761.4, second to Richmond with 769.3, the team began to believe this could be a special year.
The Pioneers finished second in the BWAC to Richmond and second to Notre Dame Prep with a season-high score of 783.38 in districts.
There would be no second place last Friday, however.
“The only thing you have to do at this point is believe in yourself,” Tomlinson said she told her team.
More than just belief in themselves, the Pioneers had overwhelming community support as families, friends, and school administrators traveled to the McGuirk Arena at Central Michigan University.
“It really means so much…Our community believed in us,” Tomlinson said. “It’s cheerleading and I think sometimes people don’t really understand it or see what all we do. But everyone’s been so supportive in our community and reaching out to us and congratulating us.
“We had more people supporting and backing us this year so to be able to bring that back to our community was big.”
“Big” could also describe the moment the senior class became the first to qualify for the State Finals each year of their career.
“They definitely set a precedent for the team and raised the bar from 2020,” Tomlinson said. “They were the first group where all four years they were able to go to states which is an accomplishment in itself.”
They’re also the first to bring a trophy home.
“It was really cool to see our seniors live up to that,” Tomlinson said. “They finished first in the state so it was definitely an awesome experience for them.”
The celebration continues this Sunday with a parade and ceremony in downtown Croswell at 2 p.m.
Members of the 2022-23 Cros-Lex cheer team:
Alexis Bales, Kyree Bruehan, Giorgia Calegari, Cassandra Espinoza, Addison Gardner, Noelle Golda, Madison Greenaway, Grace Hodges, Santanna Horning, Cora Katulski, Kaleigh Kelch, Olivia Kita,Kaylynn Kramer, Larkin Krohn, Niah Krohn, Abigail Levitt, Chelsea Miller, Carly Old, Shelby Oliver, Tatiana Repp, Makayla Rice, Cassidy Seaman, Addyson Sharpe, Emma Six, Maria Tabernero, Maggie Wallace, Deborahann White, Lilly Woodruff, and Emma Yearkey.
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