ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) There is no better feeling in high school sports than winning a state championship. Seven Stateline teams will get the chance to bring home some hardware this weekend in Bloomington.
Lutheran is one of two area cheer squads heading to state ready to defend its crown, with Belvidere North going for its third straight championship. The Lady Crusaders have just two seniors on this year's team, but according to head coach Billie Makeever, there are plenty of girls that were part of last season's junior varsity state-winning team.
Lutheran did not win conference or sectionals this year, however, the team is confident ahead of Friday's prelims. Senior Anika Fischer said the girls just have to clean up a few mistakes.
"This week is more about just perfecting," said Fischer. "Literally any foot out of place is spotted, any hand out of place. Everything is so small and important in cheer, it's crazy."
"We're excited, we're nervous, we're motivated," said Makeever. "We're extremely motivated. I think the biggest thing I get from the kids is can we practice longer, can we practice tomorrow, can we do this, can we video review. They're more motivated than I am."
Another group motivated this weekend's competition is Boylan. The Lady Titans cheer team is going to state for the first time in program history after finishing in the top five at sectionals.
Head coach Jeannine Ferger spent the last two years in retirement but was asked to come back this year. Ferger was coach when seniors like Sydney Beatty were freshmen. Beatty said the squad is coming together at the right time and cannot wait to make more memories.
"It's really awesome to be like, I made Boylan cheer history," said Beatty. "First team to ever go to IHSA state, place third at conference, fourth at sectionals, it's really awesome to be part of a team that's making history."
"For me, just have the girls go out and do the very best that they can do will be a win and we'll take it from there," said Ferger. "If we're lucky to take the top ten and go into day two, that's an extra bonus. But, just to get this far, enjoy the atmosphere, and celebrate how hard we've worked and our accomplishments will be great."