Some of Payson High’s sports teams have had their share of struggles in the 2009-2010 school year. But one unheralded team brought home a state silver medal last month. And it did so in its first venture into a statewide competition.
The Payson High School’s cheerleading squad qualified for state for the first time in November. Coach Elicia Morigeau said the girls worked really hard and took fifth place at the qualifying competition. Only the top five teams in the various categories from 1A through 5A schools were eligible to go to the state championships, she said.
Between November and the Jan. 30 contest, the combined varsity and junior varsity squads put in lots of extra hours practicing. Their efforts paid off when they were awarded second place for all Show Cheer squads among 3A schools.
There were three judges and each was allowed to award 100 points. The PHS team earned 232 points out of 300 based on strength, originality, athleticism in motion and stunts and the overall personality of the squad members.
All of that had to be packed into a 2-1/2-minute cheer and dance routine.
Florence took the top honors in the 3A Show Cheer category with 261 points. Payson was followed by Show Low with 228 points, Snowflake with 219 and Estrella Foothills with 195 points.
Approximately 1,600 young people from throughout the state competed at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, according to Michele Staples with the Arizona Interscholastic Association, which oversaw the event.
In addition to Show Cheer squads, there was competition for All-Girl Stunt teams; All-Girl Pom lines; Partner Stunt teams; Co-ed Pom lines; and Co-ed Cheer squads.
Schools with multiple groups were eligible for Overall honors. These were broken down between 1A-3A All-Girl; 1A-3A Co-ed; 4AI All-Girl; 4AII All-Girl; 4AI and 4AII Co-ed; 5AI All-Girl; 5AII All-Girl; 5AI and 5AII Co-ed.
Payson’s division of Overall honors for All-Girl squads were won by Bagdad and Valley Christian in a tie for first; Scottsdale Christian and Thatcher in a tie for third; and Show Low, fifth. They competed in Show Cheer, All-Girl Pom and All-Girl Stunt.
The Overall award for 1A-3A Co-ed squads was won by Tombstone, first, and Horizon Honors, second. These squads competed in Co-ed Cheer, Co-ed Pom and Partner Stunt.