Cheerleading returns to state meet


courtesy of John Paul Hanley

Cheer goes to state and succeeds at getting 18th place.

Olivia Lopez, Staff Reporter

Last week, Riverside Brookfield High School’s competitive cheerleading team placed 18th in the medium division at State, the best placement the team has achieved since 2014. The team consisted of a combination of the junior varsity and varsity teams.

The state competition took place February 4th-5th in Bloomington, Illinois. A total of 25 teams competed this year and 5 teams competed in each sectional. Before the competition, the RBHS team had won their conference for the 4th year in a row and placed 4th at sectionals. 

Ms. Behrendt, the student health nurse and competitive cheerleading coach at RB described her experience being the full time coach this year. After only being able to coach for 3 months last school year due to Covid-19, Behrendt was overjoyed to be back with this new team of hardworking cheerleaders. 

Behrendt had only 3 weeks to put together the combined JV and varsity team and prepare the group for state. Many girls between both of the teams were willing to compete and go the extra mile for this competition. With practicing and trying to get everyone on the same page, the experience with having to understand the dynamic of this new team was difficult, but worth the end result. 

“It was definitely different than any other year, but we made it work and obviously they worked well together,” Behrendt said, “In the end for all of them it did lead to a good win so, I am really proud of them for that.”

For many other cheerleaders, this opportunity to go to state is a first for many. Lauren Justus, a junior and cheerleader, had the opportunity to join the team at state this year. 

“My reaction to finding out that we were going to state was unbelievably happy and excited. Once our school name got called at sectionals I was so excited and so many emotions were flowing through my body,“ Justus explained.

Justus has been in cheerleading since her years at Komarek and has been cheering at RB since her freshman year. As a freshman, Justus was unable to perform at state and by the time sophomore year came around, Covid-19 caused schools to go remote.

“The win of being able to go to the state to me shows how hard we all worked for this opportunity. After all of the ups and downs, we had this season as a team we all pushed our hardest and did the best we all could do,” Justus said.

After a hard working season with the team and several competitions, this placement opens up a number of opportunities for future competitive cheerleaders in the coming years. With the placement being the best since 2014, Coach Behrendt is optimistic about this team and the next seasons that will come.

“I’m excited we took a team that was nothing and we made it into something. I do have to give a lot of the credit to the girls for that because they did work hard and they’re trying to bring their best every day,” Behrendt said.