BW recognizes State Champion Competition Cheer Squad
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
Word has gotten around by now that members of the Big Walnut High School Competition Cheerleading Team took home first place at the Sunday, March 3, Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators 2013 Cheer and Dance State Championships; but many folks don’t understand exactly how rare winning state in any discipline is.
Last Friday afternoon, during a ceremony in the high school gymnasium, Big Walnut High School Athletic Director Steve Glesenkamp explained just how rare state championships are.
“Big Walnut has been around for 60 years, and this is only the third state championship,” Glesenkamp said, directing students attention to a wall at the end of the gymnasium with banners recognizing a 2002 Golf State Championship and a 2007 Varsity Football Sate crown. “That shows you just how hard something like this is to accomplish.”
Big Walnut High School Cheerleading Coach Sarah Kern-Kildow said during state competition members of the team had only 2 minutes and 30 seconds on the floor, while judges were looking for perfection.
“These girls have been sacrificing their Mondays, every Thursday for practice, and Saturday mornings from September through March,” Kern-Kildow said. “When you add in cheering at football and basketball games, this championship is the result of commitment and a lot of hard work.”
Kern-Kildow said the squad’s only loss of the season was a third place finish at the OASSA Qualifier at Ohio State University, one of the largest meets in the state with 19 teams participating. Granville took first at the OASSA Qualifier, Carlisle was second, but the story doesn’t end there, she added. The Big Walnut squad beat Carlisle at the Arnold Classic, and beat Granville by a firm 80 points at state.
Just as sweet, Kern-Kildow said, was bringing the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division crown back home to Big Walnut.
“We won the OCC in 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2010, and this year we got the championship back,” Kern-Kildow said. “Bradley went out of our division but we beat Bradley. This is an amazing group of girls — freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors — and they brought home the hardware.”
Glesenkamp recapped the squad’s season leading up to the state championship.
“The competition trail started January 26 at Pickerington Central with a first place; the next day, the 27th, the squad finished third at OSU, the only time during the year the squad was not champions,” Glesenkamp said. “On February 2 we hosted a regional competition here at Big Walnut and qualified for state competition. On February 9 the team won the AmeriCheer Open Nationals at the Columbus Convention Center, and on February 17 the squad won the Capital Division OCC Championship at Dublin Jerome.
“On March 2 the team won First Place at the Arnold Classic and was crowned Arnold Classic Grand Champions of the Competition,” Glesenkamp continued. “And on March 3 the competition cheer team made Big Walnut history by winning its first ever State Championship. Their picture will now join our other champions on the Big Walnut Wall of Fame.”
Members of the Big Walnut High School Competition Cheerleading Team are seniors Journey Ramey, Stephanie Keller, Courtney King and Sela Garand; junior Allison Daugherty; sophomores Kennedy Walls and Stephanie Sutton; and freshmen Samantha Buxton, Devin Reardon, Sydney King, Kylie McKenzie and Danielle Herman.
Kern-Kildow is assisted by coaches Stacey Hamilton and Savannah Brown.
The Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA) is the umbrella organization for high school cheerleading competition in Ohio. For additional information about OASSA cheerleading events and camps go to oassa.org and click on Cheerleading.