December 15th, 2013

Mercy cheer squad nabs win at State

Staff Report

Mercy cheer squad nabs win at State
The Jaguars celebrated after winning the Medium Division / cover and inside photos by Deidre Mackin

Mercy Academy came home with the state championship in the Medium Division at the KHSAA State Competitive Cheerleading Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena in Lexington.  Representing Region 6, the Jaguars faced the champions from the other 15 regions and took top honors with a score of 278.4.

Getting to the state championship was a challenge for Mercy. The team went through some recent personnel changes after losing Arianna Gummer to ACL and meniscus tears. The squad reworked the routine four days before the Region 6 competition and was further hampered by being unable to practice because of inclement weather.

The team did get in a practice before the regional to work out any kinks and to see what needed to be modified to hit a safe and clean routine. That practice paid off because, even with a stunting mistake, Mercy was able to seize the Region 6 title with a score of 272.9 and earn a second consecutive trip to State.

After spending two full weeks of practicing every night, each night with a different themed practice, head coach Deidre Mackin said Mercy’s cheerleaders felt prepared when it came time to leave for the state competition. Mackin added that the theme they decided on for State was “faith over fear” and “road to redemption” to show how much they believed in each other and that they were ready to make up for the mistakes that left them in second place last season.

“As a coach, this is a level I have dreamed about getting these ladies to,”
Mackin said. “With their level of commitment and talent, I knew it was just a matter of putting the pieces together and getting them prepared both mentally and physically.”

According to Mackin, the road to the state championship started last summer with intense condition sessions followed by practice and breaking down skills to the fundamentals. The Jaguars attended NCA Camp at the University of Louisville in July and won Top Team, 19 All Americans and the Top All American of the entire camp. They also earned a bid to the 2014 NCA Nationals.

“After choreography camp in late July, we started volleyball season and cheered our Jags to a state semifinal game,” Mackin said. “Then came performance night. We invited Pleasure Ridge Park, Male and South Oldham to Mercy and cheered each other on while working out routine issues before the competition season started.”

Late last month, Mercy participated at a competition hosted by PRP and won the Medium Division and Grand Champion of the entire competition.

Next up for the Mercy cheer squad is the NCA Nationals in Dallas on Jan. 25-26. 


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