Cardinals host annual cheer classic

Cheers rallied and spirits lifted during the Jan. 18 third-annual Cardinal Cheer Classic.

Pint-sized elementary school-aged cheerleaders from St. Michael/Albertville lift spirits and cheer for the Knights during the third-annual Cardinal Cheer Classic cheerleading competition. Photo by Sue Austreng

Pint-sized elementary school-aged cheerleaders from St. Michael/Albertville lift spirits and cheer for the Knights during the third-annual Cardinal Cheer Classic cheerleading competition. Photo by Sue Austreng

The Coon Rapids High School fieldhouse served as center stage for the cheerleading competition and 40 cheer teams from schools across Minnesota and western Wisconsin came to compete.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming [so many] teams to our school and community this year,” said Coon Rapids High School Spirit Booster Club Vice President Kelley Welf.

Elementary and middle school squads competed, as did junior varsity and varsity tumbling and non-tumbling teams on that cold and snowy Saturday.

Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Stewartville and Zumbrota-Mazeppa were not able to attend due to the weather. Cheer squads from Jackson County and from Superior, Wis., probably traveled the farthest distance to compete at Coon Rapids.

Three elite teams from Jam Hops gymnastics, dance and cheer program were also in attendance, and a group from the World Taekwondo Academy in Coon Rapids gave a demonstration before competition began.

Cheer teams from Coon Rapids High School and Coon Rapids Middle School performed in exhibition.

Judges gauged teams’ performance, scoring according to Universal Cheerleaders Association guidelines and noting elements including cheer, dance, difficulty, tumbling, timing, turns and throws.

Judges scored teams on their ability to engage the crowd and even evaluated the signs lifted by cheerleaders to prompt the crowd to chime in.

The invitational cheer classic elevates teams’ expertise, creates opportunity for squads to increase their spirit and creativity and serves as a fund-raiser for the spirit booster club, according to Welf.

“The most important thing teams get out of our competition – besides a lot of fun – is the critiques from the judges,” Welf said.

“Our event takes place just a couple of weeks before the state competition, so we ask our judges to evaluate the routines based on criteria that is used at the state competition.”

“Ours is one of the last chances for teams to get good constructive critiques about their performances before state, so they have time to make changes to their routine and make perfections.”

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

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