By: Alex Wallner Sports Editor
As the first month of the New Year concludes, we look back on a great month, one that was highlighted by Centennial cheerleading, who stole the show at the conference competition on Saturday, January 24th. The Lady Chargers stole the show by beating powerhouse Bloomington, Normal West, Central and Mattoon among others to take first place, something they haven’t done since 2009. The team is exciting; with only two seniors this year, not only is the squad young, but many have gained the much needed experience from this confidence boosting win.
State is something everyone wants to get to, but the first obstacle in order to get there is sectionals as cheer in the IHSA doesn’t have regionals or super-sectionals, which makes the Chargers quest to Bloomington much easier. When asked if the Chargers could get to state, junior, Marie Jefferson said, “I feel like we have the most potential we’ve had in years, but I don’t want to jinx anything! Right now we are focusing hard on getting to state first.” Junior, Isabel Lammers answered, “If we work hard this week, hit our routine at sectionals, advance to state, work hard for one more week… There is a possibility.”
Head coach, Melody Dreger replied, “I would be happy to just see us advance!! I feel as though my team can be a top contender at state! If we work hard and have no deductions anything is possible! My main focus is qualifying for state. First we qualify, and then make it pass prelims and then that question can be answered! The talent we have anything is possible” and senior, Holly Bush and junior, Bailey Kroppman responded, “We feel like we can win state, there are a lot of good teams in sectionals this year and we feel we can do good and get to that next level.” The main goal for any coach or player is to watch their team succeed and that is what Coach Dreger has built at Centennial, a cheer program based on winning, something that the Chargers have continued this season.
After such an emotional conference victory, the Chargers are geared for one goal, but at the same time going step by step to reach that goal. When asked of her feelings after the conference win and if it became a confident booster, Jefferson remarked, “I was so happy and proud of our team because we had been working so hard to take that title back and we finally did. It was definitely a confidence booster. We proved to ourselves that we were good we just needed to keep pushing.” Lammers said, “It was amazing to win! We definitely needed to win to pave the way to sectionals this coming weekend.” Dreger then answered, “As a coach, I really wanted to win Conference. It has been three years since we have won Conference. Yes, I would say it was a confidence booster, it’s really hard to hit perfect every single time. At that competition we gave it our best, it was good enough to take first. After competing, I don’t think the girls were really worried about what placement; they were focused on how well they did as a team. I hope they can pull it off this weekend for sectionals” and Kroppman and Bush said, “It will be tough to win, but just getting their will be what we want right now and see what happens after that.” Confidence is the most important aspect to any team sport, because without you have nothing to win and everything to lose instead of the other way around.