Panther Valley Cheerleaders have championship season
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Top Awards for Panther Valley cheerleaders are, front row from left, Theressa Eckhart, Kasey Gray, Andrea Rodgers, Amber Vachon, Steph Blum and Cara Shubeck. Middle row, Sarah-Mary Tucker, Kaitlyn Matula, Sarah Marouchoc, Amber Strock and Emily Horvath. Back row, Brielle Poeldnurk, Rylie Krapf, Katie Kabana and Storm Hughes.
The Panther Valley Varsity Cheerleaders enjoyed a championship competition season that was the best in PV history.
The team posted a record of 12-2-1 in their division with additional wins against varsity teams in other divisions (based on the scores that were released and grand championships), bringing their overall known record against all varsity teams to 21-3-1. Based on the girls' basketball enrollment numbers, Panther Valley is class AA, but due to competitions being based on squad size, the team competed against many much larger schools.
At their first competition of the season on Jan. 27 at Garnet Valley High School in Glen Mills, Pa., the team lost to Springfield (AAA) by only a few points and tied Penncrest (AAAA).
Next, at Moravian College in Bethlehem on Feb. 12, the team won first place by beating Dieruff (AAAA), William Allen (AAAA), Pen Argyl (AA) and Wardlaw-Hartridge (a private school from New Jersey).
It was at Moravian that PV received its first ever Grand Championship, posting the highest score of the day. Counting the other divisions, PV also took down AAA schools East Stroudsburg North and Blue Mountain as well as this year's state and District XI AAA champion, Bethlehem Catholic. They also scored higher than the co-ed college team from Penn State Berks.
On Feb. 19 at Lower Dauphin High School in Hummelstown, the team again placed first by beating Shamokin (AAA), Philipsburg-Osceola (AA), and Halifax (AA). They also won Grand Champions, beating out former state and national champion Steelton-Highspire (A) as well, and took home the trophy for Best Stunts.
At Kedron (held at Ridley High School near Philadelphia) on Feb. 27, the team was the only one in the varsity division, but won a Grand Championship again by having the highest score of the day (other teams are scored for their levels and divisions) against teams such as Chichester JV (AAAA). Sarah-Mary Tucker was awarded a first place jump-off medal as well.
On March 5 at South Williamsport, the team was bumped up a division to be in the Large Varsity division, competing against larger squads. They placed second in both the cheer and routine, losing only to AAA Milton and beating AAAA Williamsport and A Canton. They also beat all the schools in the Small Varsity division: Shamokin (AAA), Elkland (A), and Galeton (A). The partner stunt routine of Andrea Rodgers, Sarah Marouchoc, Storm Hughes, Katie Kabana, and Rylie Krapf won second place as well.
The Panthers' final competition was the Shamrock Showcase on March 19 at Danville High School. The team won first place in the Small Varsity division by beating AAA Indian Valley, AA Bald Eagle, and AA Westmont Hilltop. They lost the Grand Championship to the 2011 six-time Grand National Championship team from AAAA Freedom (Large Varsity) by only 2 points, but did beat out a co-ed team from AAAA Pocono Mt. West and avenged their loss from the previous week by beating AAA Milton (Large Varsity).
Katie Kabana won second place in a large jump-off competition, and the stunt groups placed first, third, and fifth out of six. The winning group, Panther Valley White, consisted of Andrea Rodgers, Katie Kabana, Sarah Marouchoc, Rylie Krapf, and Storm Hughes.
Head coach Hallie Seiwell and assistant coach Heidi Seiwell hope to build on the team's success next season.
While the Panthers are sad to lose the skills and leadership of graduating seniors Andrea Rodgers and Amber Vachon, both plan to attend college and to help coach at PV next year as assistants or volunteers. Returner squad members look forward to continuing their success next season and hope to raise enough funds to compete at UCA Nationals in Florida.