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Hart competitive cheer team runs away with 2023 regional title

Mason County Central finishes third and also earns berth in state finals.

Hart’s competitive cheer team poses for a group photo after winning a Division 4 regional title Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, at Northview High School in Grand Rapids. (Courtesy of Hart athletics)

Two teams from the West Michigan Conference will be representing in the Division 4 competitive cheer state championships this Thursday at Central Michigan University’s McGuirk Arena.

Hart ran away with the regional championship Saturday at Grand Rapids Northview, while Mason County Central placed third in the regional to also punch its ticket to the state finals.

Hart totaled 719.12 points by going 218.2 in Round 1, 206.5 in Round 2 and 304.4 in Round 2.

“Our main focus this week was our Round 1. We wanted to bring energy right from the gate and they did just that,” Hart coach Jen Hlady said. “I told the girls to give it everything they had, to not let this be the last time we did Round 1 on the mat this year, and so happy we get to do our rounds again at the state finals.

“I feel the girls performed very well last night. They didn’t let their nerves get the best of them on the mat at regionals. The feeling of returning to the state finals never gets old. It’s always a new team, new year and new excitement. I can’t wait for this team to experience this.”

Mason County Central racked up 698.86 points. Pewamo-Westphalia was second with 705.68 points, while Lawton was fourth with 689.72 points.

Mason County Central’s competitive cheer team poses for a group photo as the Spartans placed third in a Division 4 regional Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, at Northview High School in Grand Rapids. (Courtesy of Cheri Stibitz)

The top four teams in each regional advance to state finals competition.

“We are very excited to get back to the state finals for the second year in a row,” MCC coach Cheri Stibitz said. “This team has worked very hard. The season and their hard work has paid off, that’s for sure.

“Going into regionals, we knew that it would be very challenging for us and we definitely faced that challenge. Round 1 had a couple of odd, tiny mistakes and we were very nervous that was going to affect our overall standings. We did get a lower score in Round 1 than we have previously with 208.9, but there was only 10 points between the top five schools. We made some really important changes in Round 3 and it was very lucrative for us. We had the second-highest Round 3 score next to Hart in the whole competition.”

In a Division 3 regional at Rockford on Saturday, Whitehall placed 11th (656.62 points) and Montague 12th (642.28).

The Vikings and Wildcats see their seasons end, but they represented well throughout, including in the state tournament.

“I think this is very exciting for the West Michigan Conference for competing teams: Us, Hart, Whitehall and Montague all made it to the regional level and two teams – us and Hart – are moving on to the finals,” Stibitz said. “I think that shows we have a very competitive conference and that is exciting.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be back at the state finals this year and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish.”

Said Hlady: “I am excited for the girls to go out there and perform their best on the big stage. I am so proud of the team and look forward to seeing the scores we can post at the state finals.”

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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