Every year, the Cedar Park High School cheer squad dishes out a spirited season of stunts, tumbles and flyers on the sidelines, leading the thousands of Timberwolves fans to cheer on their teams as they chase state titles in a variety of sports.
After winning the UIL Spirit State Championship last weekend, the squad’s 30 cheerleaders can now say they’re bonafide UIL state champs in their own right.
The Timberwolves cheer squad beat out 19 other top-tier high school programs to earn the state title at the UIL Spirit State Championships at the Ft. Worth Convention Center on Jan. 13 with an overall score of 83.65.
Needless to say, it was a pretty rowdy bus ride home Saturday night, said CPHS cheer sponsor Nadira King.
“They were so hyped up,” King said. “I was so happy to see them feel like they’re on the same level as the other teams. They can have the same pride of being recognized by UIL.”
This was the school's second appearance in the Spirit State Championships, after placing 17th in 2015-16 in the 5A category with an overall score of 87.3. Previously, Vandegrift held the record for highest LISD ranking from that year, having placed third with an overall score of 94.05.
To make it to the finals, Cedar Park had to compete against around 100 different high schools from throughout Texas in a preliminary round. Judges critiqued cheer squads in three different categories: band dance, fight song and sideline crowd involvement.
Cedar Park was ranked 11th overall going into the top 20 finals in 5A Division I. From there, the girls just had to bring their best performances of the same three category competitions. The girls rocked their performances and executed flawlessly, King said.
“Our girls are like one big family, and you can see their bond,” she said. “They really bring that passion to their performances and you could feel their excitement in the arena.”
After a long day of performances and lying in wait for results to come in, there were moments of doubt as the team wasn’t able to view the other schools. However, when the results came in that Cedar Park had won it all, the room went crazy.
“It was chaotic when they announced we had won,” said Spring Hollen, mother of junior cheerleader Maddy Hollen. “The girls were super excited. They knew all the hard work it took getting ready for it was well worth it.”
Fellow LISD high school Vista Ridge placed third in the coed category with an overall score of 79.31. Leander HS also placed 14th with an overall score of 66.65 in the coed category, and Vandegrift HS placed 11th with an overall score of 85.65 in the 6A Division II category.
“I feel like they did phenomenal,” said VRHS cheer coach Marissa Abbott. “They stepped up to rise to the challenge. This was their first time going to UIL, and they proved what it meant to be a Vista cheerleader and roasted the challenge.”
It’s been an impressive year for Leander ISD programs, with Cedar Park HS marching band winning a state championship, the Rouse Volleyball team competing in the state finals and both Vandegrift and Rouse girls soccer teams making it to state semi-finals.
A pep rally is planned at CPHS Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 10:15 a.m. to celebrate the cheer squad. There’s a key difference for this pep rally, however — the cheerleaders are the ones being honored, with the athletes leading the pep rally. This time, the cheer team will get to bask in the glory.