All three levels of Grayslake North Cheerleading squads - Varsity, JV and Freshmen - won first place at the 2012 Fox Valley Conference Cheerleading Championship. The squads will now compete this weekend in Regionals.
"I was thrilled when we won Conference!" said Varsity Coach Jennifer Garza. "I knew we had the talent to do so but we had to throw our routine to our best ability in order to win it. We were going against some very good teams and we had to hit our routine to beat them."
She said the team had been very busy leading up to the Conference Championship on Jan. 16. "We had just come off a very busy two weeks with competitions, games, and hosting our own competition," Garza said. "On top of all of that, they still came out there and performed how they should have. They did an amazing job! The day was made even brighter by the fact that our Freshmen and JV teams also got first place wins that day! It was a great day to be a Knight!"
She praised the girls for their "perseverance, dedication, and belief in each other. Those are the qualities that have made this team a success. They push through the aches and pains everyday (especially at this point in the season), they show up each and every day (even though they have been together now since June!) and they believe in each other and encourage each other on a daily basis."
Garza described the sport as one where multiple people have to look like one cohesive picture on the mat, so confidence in each other is a must.
"These girls have really pulled together and believe in each other and expect a lot out of themselves as a team. This attitude is what will hopefully make our season even more of a success these next two weeks."
Sectionals are this weekend, Jan. 28 at Belvidere High School, to determine which teams qualify for State.
"There are some very talented teams there and only the top five make it down to Bloomington," Garza said. "We have been preparing for this competition the whole season. We have been building on, and perfecting our routine we learned back in November to get to this point. Now we just need to show off all of our hard work."
The parents are especially proud of their daughters.
"I'm so proud of Jennie and the girls on the varsity team this year on their achievement of winning conference," said Cindy Kramer. "We have some pretty tough competition. The girls have worked so hard and it shows in their performance. It is just amazing to watch them!"
"Amanda and her teammates have worked really hard to gain the skills necessary to continue to be successful in a very competitive conference of athletes," said Brenda Cotter. "With an entertaining and difficult routine, it was a very proud moment for us parents to see them accept Conference Champs with their determination to win!"
"All the girls have been working so hard this season, and it showed in their routine last Monday," said Janet Landry, whose daughter Megan is on the Varsity squad. "It was so exciting to see all three levels take first place at the Fox Valley Conference Championships ! I am looking forward to watching the GNHS Varsity Cheerleaders perform again this Saturday at their Sectional Championship."
The three team levels:
Varsity - Coach: Jenny Garza
Lauren Baker, Courtney Bong, Sara Bongratz, Nicole Carrao, Morgan Castle, Amanda Cotter, Gen Enowbitang, Katie Fletcher, Shelby Geary, Mariah Gentile, Teagan Johnson, Jennie Kramer, Megan Landry, Gabby Mason, Samantha Mayer, Katie Owen, Courtney Peterson, Francell Rankins, Melanie Rosario, Sarah Schmitke, Alexis Shimcoski, Emily West and Allie Wilson.
Junior Varsity - Coach: Jessica Damore
Lindsey Allen, Kaley Buchman, Emy Cassity, Tanjay Cizerle, Halie Craig, Lauren Fischer, Hailey Friele, Megan Garrity, Sarah Halverson, Ashley Hirschmiller, Selena Jones, Reilly Lutz, Nikiya Major, Megan McAnally, Ashley Morris, Shannon O'Brien, Heather Pucher, Katie Schaaf, Carissa Shurboff, Kylie West, Carlette Williams, Danielle Wolter, Kaila Wren and Amanda Zaverdas.
Freshmen - Coach: Alex Mendralla
Valerie Attwood, Kulan Batbayar, Alex Bauman, Rachel Boesch, Courtney Chamberlain, Dsmantha Dirchas, Katie Fiedler, Kaley Grazian, Mia Hassan, Amanda Hogan, Katy Homerin, Haliey Klippert, Samantha Kortenkamp, Regan Lutz, Brianna Shulman and Olivia Tinsley.