Blair claims Spirit Award for second consecutive year

Dec. 10, 2006, midnight | By Elsi Wu | 16 years, 11 months ago

Cheerleaders place fourth overall in Division II MCPS competition

Blair's varsity cheerleading squad won the Spirit Award and placed fourth in the Division II MCPS cheerleading championship held at Blair yesterday afternoon, Dec. 9.

The competition featured eight schools in Division II, including B-CC, Blair, Blake, Clarksburg, Northwest, Paint Branch, Seneca Valley and Wootton. Northwest captured top honors, and Paint Branch and Clarksburg placed second and third, respectively.

Competing at the Division II level for the second year, Blair had hoped to improve upon last year's second place finish. The prospect seemed likely as most of the competition was wracked by technical errors. Six out of eight teams (not including Blake and Wootton) dropped at least one stunt; Paint Branch dropped the most with four. Incomplete somersaults and broken unison in the dance portion of the routine also plagued most teams.

Northwest and Clarksburg were clear standouts in the competition, presenting highly technical routines with few minor technical glitches. Both teams had superior tumbling sequences that used most members of the squad, whereas other teams only tumbled two or three girls. Northwest's routine was clean, fast-paced and included creative group-work in the dance. The team wowed the crowd by lifting two girls mirroring each other in the scorpion pose. Clarksburg appealed to the "wow" factor of the competition and performed the most crowd-pleasing stunt – vaulting two girls in a free-fall across the floor and then lifting them into a one-footed pose.

Blair and Wootton were the only two squads that put on a themed routine. Performing with rosy cheeks and bright red lips, the Blazers took the floor as marionettes, and incorporated the theme throughout the routine. The girls began hanging limp like dolls and sprung to life with the music. Puppet-like sequences continued intermittently throughout, creating an inventive effect. The most outstanding scenes were when the girls formed a circle around male cheerleader Jonathan Gillette who played the puppeteer pulling the strings on their movements and during the dance portion when the girls partnered up in an over-the-back flip kick. Original and energetic, Blair's routine garnered the most applause from the large Blair crowd in attendance and was clean of major technical errors throughout until a minor drop at the routine's end.

Paint Branch's second place finish was a surprise to many in the Blazer camp. The Panthers' used parts of their routine from the previous year and committed the most egregious technical missteps.

When the awards were announced, Blair coaches, cheerleaders and fans were shocked by the outcome of the judging, which, according to the county rulebook, is evaluated based on "fundamental skills, group technique, cheerleader gymnastics and overall effect." Many were incensed by the judges' decision, including poms coach Amy Thomas, who commented that "sports like poms and cheerleading can never really be fairly judged because it's all very subjective."

Despite being overlooked by the judges, head coach Roxanne Fus was content with the squad's performance. She said, "Considering the fact that we lost two of our girls just two weeks ago and the girls that stepped in did a tremendous job of learning the routine, we deserved better than what we got." Although disappointed by the final outcome, co-captain Ashley Smith was also "proud of the routine" and "just excited that the team got out there and pulled it out."

Elsi Wu. Elsi Wu is really a middle-aged, obese Italian man. A perky CAP junior who lives for ESPN, Superbowl Sunday, Poms, and food, she watches Friends and Oprah RELIGIOUSLY along with any Redskins/Maryland games (you know, normal activities for the average obese Italian man). Instead of … More »

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