Stevenson varsity cheer team earns state championship
Stevenson varsity cheer team earns state championship
Posted on 03/23/2018
Cheerleaders surrounding state plaque
Originally published in the Macomb Daily - http://www.macombdaily.com/sports/20180302/roundup-stevenson-wins-state-division-1-competitive-cheer-championship 

DREW ELLIS -- THE MACOMB DAILY
By Drew Ellis, sports@macombdaily.com, @MacDailySports on Twitter

There was only one place left for Stevenson’s cheer team to go.

After a third-place finish in the 2016 state finals and a runner-up finish in 2017, the Titans were determined to make 2018 about claiming that elusive D1 state championship.

They did just that on Friday at the DeltaPlex, scoring a 793.22 total to best the field by more than two points and win their first competitive cheer title.

“I really don’t have words. I couldn’t have written a better story for how this season has gone for us,” Stevenson coach Brianna Verdoot said. “We lost only one senior last year, so the year just started differently. We knew what we wanted and we could push for it. After finishing runner-up last year, we knew we wanted it a little bit more this year.”

Stevenson finished runner-up two times prior to Friday’s victory. After last year’s surprising run to second place with a young squad, Verdoot knew that 2018 could be the year it all came together behind a 10-girl senior class.

“Last year was unexpected. We had nine freshmen last year, so making it to state finals was huge and runner-up was the icing on the cake,” Verdoot said. “This year we had 10 seniors and we really wanted to push to (get to the title).”

The Titans looked to be the favorite heading in based on season performances, but found themselves trailing Rochester Adams after the first round. Stevenson scored a 238.80 in the first round while Adams posted a 238.50.

Stevenson took over the lead in the second after a 232.72, while Adams scored a 231.62.

“All season long we talked about focusing on ourselves. When our scores were coming in and we were tops in each round, we made it about beating Stevenson,” Verdoot said. “(Friday) was about beating Stevenson and we did that.”

The Titans locked up the crown with a third-round performance that was best in the field. Stevenson scored a 322.20, besting each team by more than 1.5 points.

“I was a flier, so I am crazy about flexibility and setting yourself apart from other people. We have a couple of different things in our round three that may look odd to not normal cheer people, but we just incorporate all that stuff,” Verdoot said. “Round three is the fun one. It’s the round everyone wants to see and they just thrive at the chance to do it.”

Adams ultimately finished second with a total of 790.82 while Rochester, the two-time defending champ, placed third with 789.70.