NEW CASTLE — Laken Rosing knew her squad was a success a week before the team’s appearance at state finals, days before they’d know if they were champions in the eyes of a panel of judges.
It happened as the 2017 Greenfield-Central High School varsity cheer squad was preparing for its moment on that brightest stage, Rosing said. One teammate stumbled, pulled a muscle in her leg that could have impacted the entire performance.
The squad members circled around their hurt friend, talked about how to help her, asked if they needed to adjust their routine to compensate for her injury.
The Cougars didn’t walk away from the 2017 Indiana Varsity Cheer State Finals with the championship title, but Rosing looks into the faces of her girls and sees only accomplishment. They have so much to proud of, she said.
Greenfield-Central, along with the New Palestine High School squad, competed in the varsity cheerleading state championships hosted by the Indiana Association of School Principals Saturday at New Castle High School.
Forty varsity teams from across the state filled the New Castle Chrysler Fieldhouse to participate in the competition. Each team was given a chance to perform a 2½-minute routine, showing off stunts, flips and cheers they use to rev up the crowd on their home turf.
At the end of the night, trophies were handed out to the top five teams in each division and the rest were recognized for their efforts.
New Palestine High School received a participation trophy for their work in the Varsity Coed Division — the same category in which they were named state runner-up in 2016. Carmel High School took home the state championship trophy in that division.
The Cougars, looking to live up to the school’s 2016 state championship in the coed division, finished in fourth place in the Varsity B division. Pendleton Heights High School earned the state championship there, with Jasper and Bishop Dwenger high schools finishing in second and third place, respectively.
Rosing said she’ll gladly put that 2017 fourth-place award in the trophy case, set it right next to last year’s state championship title and look at it every day with the same pride and appreciation.
Because success can be measured in so many different ways, Rosing said.
Sophomore Jillian Baker, one of the team’s flyers, pulled a muscle at the start of practice last week. The pain she felt was clear on her face, noticeable by everyone in the gym that day; but after talking with her coaches and teammates, Jillian said she decided to keep going, to take to mat and power through.
She hit every move, thanks to her teammates, she said.
They shouted words of encouragement her way, she said, and were careful not to worsen the injury. They tossed her into the air and set her back on the ground more gingerly than they typically would, focusing on her in addition to their moves.
Watching her team come together in that moment of uncertainty right before the finals was as rewarding as any trophy could be, Rosing said.
“They were so considerate and compassionate,” Rosing said. “There is some degree of selflessness when you’re accountable to your teammates, when you care about them rather than caring about yourself.”
For more coverage, see today’s B1.