“WE ARE!” Two claps. “NORTHWOOD!” Two claps.
The Northwood High School cheerleading team psyched themselves up, yelling together before they took the grandstands stage.
And it worked – Northwood finished first at this year’s Elkhart County 4-H Fair cheerleading competition.
Four high school squads – Northwood, Goshen High School, Lakeland High School and Mishawaka High School – competed at the annual event at the Elkhart County fairgrounds in Goshen.
Despite a slip that ended one Northwood cheerleader’s lift early, the team pulled their performance together and were rewarded with a first-place trophy, presented by Miss Indiana Mekayla Diehl
Co-captains Marisa Hochstetler and Kristen Norville said the team’s gone through a lot this year, from injuries to teammates missing meets.
“We’ve had people who’ve never cheered before do their first year on this team,” Norville said.
Both co-captains are going into their senior years this fall. Norville said she’s glad this is the team she’ll cheer with in her last season.
Hochstetler said the team has improved because everyone worked hard this summer. Even last week, she said, they probably couldn’t have performed as well as they did during the 4-H Fair competition.
“I could not be any more proud of our team,” Hochstetler said.
Goshen High School finished a close second.
Surae Woods-Cross, the only senior on the Goshen squad, said she thought their performance went well.
“I think it helped our team, confidence-wise, because we were so nervous,” she said.
Goshen took home the Spirit Trophy for having the most excited – meaning loudest – fans in the audience.
Both Goshen and Northwood squads hope to travel to state competition in November.
“We have a lot more work to do to get ready for state,” Northwood head coach Lisa Norville said. “But I’m very proud of them.”