Lady Dragons head to state finals
March 02, 2011 - Stay Strong, Fight On. That was the Lake Orion High School Varsity Cheer team's motto this year, and it paid off.
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The girls took first place in the 2011 East Regional Competitive Cheer Championship Competition last weekend with a combined three-round point total of 812.2696. They'll head for state finals this Friday at the Delta Plex in Grand Rapids.
"The season overall has been a definite progression," said Coach Nancy DeAvila, who's dedicated 16 years to the LOHS cheer program, the last nine as head coach.
"We started slowly due to the extended, amazing run through the state football playoffs, so we concentrated the entire season on improving performances week by week."
The team's greatest strength, she noted, is its ability to make steady improvements.
"They are extremely coachable," DeAvila said. "They have terrific team unity and rapport, as well."
The team - 29 girls strong - also went to finals in 2009 and 2010.
DeAvila said the LOHS Varsity cheer team has made an appearance at 14 of the 18 contested MHSAA Finals.
So far, they haven't come home with a title - they did come as close as fourth place four times in the late 90s and early 00s - but DeAvila is optimistic about this year's prospects.
"We encourage each other every day to believe in our strengths and continue to work to improve something every day," she said. "There are 11 seniors on the team and they provide great leadership for this group. (The team) has been a joy to coach and are one of Lake Orion's strongest teams in recent history, - both on and off the mat."
DeAvila also gave a nod those who back her up.
"I have an amazing coaching staff in Nicole Perryman, who has given the team unbelievable material to work with and amazing inspiration, and Gary Willick, who helps keep the team geared up and physically ready to compete day in and day out ... its just been a terrific team all together."
Pictured with the champion trophy are:1st Row: Leah Deeg, Kathryn Donaldson, Sarah Cavanaugh, Lindsay Macco, Kayla Baldwin, Camden Burk, Courtney Murt, Kelsey Willick, Sammy Cousens, Sarah Clayton. 2nd Row: Lindsey Watts, Katlyn Clouse, Lauren Galasso, Rachel Buccellato, Danielle Fraga, Lauren Watts, Kayla Buccholz, Becky Rowe, Jaqueline Colvette
3rd Row: Coach Niki Perryman, Coach Nancy de Avila, Coach Gary Willick, Nicole Murt, Lauren Gattinger, Jenn Lee, Sydney Stringfellow, Cami Arnold, Shannon Flanders, Nicole Latham, Brittany Garoufalis, Amy Stubbs, Jordan Auger