February 08, 2012 - There is no doubt in anyone's mind the varsity cheer squad won the Oakland Activities Association white division this time.
Congratulations to the Oxford Wildcat cheer squad on winning the OAA White title. (click for larger version)
Last season, the squad backed into the division title after it was discovered North Farmington used an ineligible player.
This year, the Wildcats wrapped up the division title following their first place finish at the White division tournament at Oxford High School on Saturday, Feb. 3.
Oxford won the tournament by the slimmest of margins, 703.5136 - 702.4112, over North Farmington.
The league race was just as tight, as one point separated Oxford and North Farmington in the final league standings - the Wildcats finished with 22 divisional points, while the Raiders finished with 21.
West Bloomfield finished third at both Saturday's tournament and in the division.
"We are really excited," varsity co-coach Shari Russell said. "It was exciting not to have any questions surrounding it...we felt like we really earned it, we put our time in and are happy there are no questions about who should have won."
Trailing both North Farmington and West Bloomfield entering the final round, Oxford was able to minimize their mistakes and capitalize on mistakes made by West Bloomfield and North Farmington to surge into first.
Oxford managed to score 286.5 points in round three, while North Farmington scored 275.1 points.
West Bloomfield scored 279.5 points.
"That was not our best performance, so I was pretty nervous after round three," Russell said. "We were two teams after North Farmington, so I got to watch them go and my initial reaction was they left the door open and we had some room to catch up because we were about 10 points behind."
Russell said it definitely looked like nerves played a big factor for all teams in round three. "It was so close, that all teams felt the pressure, and it was the first time you had really seen it in any of the teams this season," Russell said.
Russell said she knew it was going to be a tough meet because North Farmington, West Bloomfield and Oxford were so competitive with each other throughout the season.
According to Russell, the focus coming into the meet was improving their round one and two scores.
"We were struggling with them earlier in the season. North Farmington beat us in both round one and two; we were about half a point off of West Bloomfield for both rounds, so that was our goal to close the gap and we did," Russell said. She added the league title "continues the progress" the teams have made since she took over.
Up next for the squad is districts at Davison High School on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Last year, Oxford finished fourth at districts. Russell said the goal is to now finish in the top two. "The girls want to win districts," she said. "Winning starts to raise the bar."
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.