After Ten Years, Varsity Cheer First in State Competition

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By Shelby Haygood
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(Photo courtesy of Lexi Hara (10)) The MHS Varsity Cheerleading team received the Long Division State Champion title against Hawaii schools including Baldwin High School.
(Photo courtesy of Lexi Hara (10)) The MHS Varsity Cheerleading team received the Long Division State Champion title against Hawaii schools including Baldwin High School.

On  Nov. 19, the MHS Varsity Cheerleading team swept the competition taking first place at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Cheerleading State Championship held at the Neal Blaisdell Center Arena. After a ten year interlude, MHS earned the Long Division State Champion title against Baldwin High School, who earned second place.

“The atmosphere was surreal, our supporting fans of Mililani and family members of our team were just as excited as we were, jumping off the ground and screaming in excitement when they announced our name. Even different schools that weren’t in our division were super supportive of us and I am so grateful for that experience,” expressed varsity cheerleader Junior Brittan Byrd.

The Varsity Cheerleading team spent months diligently working to improve their routine. “In preparation, we had practice Monday through Friday, even (on) days when we didn’t have school, for around two to three hours which consisted of running routines, working on new skills for stunting and tumbling and finding new choreography to try and make our routine gather the most points possible. I was well aware that if we won we would break the ten year record which made the win so much more meaningful to us and our wonderful coach who, without her, we wouldn’t have been able to pull it off,” Byrd explained. Varsity cheerleader Senior Sakari Kierstedt added, “During practices, we would have talks before and after. We’d talk about how we need to meet and make goals. We’d (talk about how we) needed to be able to come together and do what we have to do. Our goals were to be one as a team, to be able to cheer together, not just as a team but as a family.” Varsity Cheerleading Coach Renesha Kierstedt said, “It took a complete team, family and friends to succeed. They left their hearts on the mat and emotions that afternoon. There wasn’t a dry eye (in the room, there were) tears of joy and success.”

Many of the cheerleaders were anxiously awaiting the results of the competition, yet the suspense proved exciting to others. “The best part was sitting and waiting for the awards (and) when (the announcer) said large division we were all shaking. The best part was when we were holding hands and waiting for the second place results. When they announced Baldwin, we all just went blank. We all started crying. Majority of us cried but some of us were really excited, for some of us it was the first year coming on varsity and being able to meet that standard and be able to take that title was awesome,” Sakari Kierstedt said. Byrd added, “Seeing the overwhelming joy and emotions on the faces of all of our amazing seniors and coaching staff on the (team), knowing that all the work and effort put into this routine finally paid off and that was such a great feeling to be able to have.”

Win or lose, the camaraderie amongst the team holds them all together both on and off the mats. “(I enjoy) being able to bond with everyone as a team, being able to make new friends. I want to be there for people and help. I want everyone to have a good time and a good experience,” Sakari Kierstedt stated. Renesha Kierstedt added, “I love those girls so much and I was the proudest coach there. Knowing how hard they worked, overcoming obstacles and finally reaching that one goal was a great reward for all their time and dedication.”

The MHS Varsity Cheerleading team was very pleased that all their hard work and effort finally payed off with the Long Division State Championship title. As graduating seniors must now pass the torch to upcoming varsity cheerleaders, the team is excited to begin next year as reigning champions and hope to defend their title in their following season.