HERSHEY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — During the two weeks leading up to the PIAA Competitive Spirit Championships, the members of the Moniteau and Karns City teams got together for a joint practice.
It was an unusual step, but one that ultimately paid big dividends for both teams.
(Pictured above, Moniteau finished fourth in the state in the Class 2A Small Varsity Division)
Moniteau placed fourth overall at the championships in the Class 2A Small Varsity Division and Karns City was fifth in the state in the Class 2A Large Varsity Division in Hershey this weekend.
The collaboration allowed both teams to break up the monotony of practicing the same 2 minute, 30 second routine over and over again and also allowed for different sets of critical eyes on both teams’ performances.
“I think it was good for the girls because they get so bogged down by practices,” said Karns City coach Krista Ritzert. “It was nice to get together with another group and they could cheer each other on and offer each other critique. And just interact with girls that know what everyone’s going through.”
Moniteau’s final performance was flawless with zero deductions. It helped the Warriors score 83.5 points.
Bishop McCort won the state title in the Class 2A Small Varsity Division with 94.3 points.
Karns City senior Ceci Morrow said practicing with Moniteau was a boon for both teams.
“Even though we have a big rivalry there, that support was just really so helpful,” Morrow said. “Their stunts are so strong and they were able to help us really clean up and perfect ours.”
It showed in Karns City’s performances in Hershey, where the Gremlins made competitive spirit history at the school.
For the first time, Karns City advanced to the second day of competition. It was also the first time a Gremlin team advanced to the finals later Saturday after another strong routine in the morning.
“We were definitely not expecting that,” Morrow said of reaching the finals. “We were just pretty much saying, ‘Let’s just have fun.’ We were expecting that to be our last performance and then, somehow, we made it all the way to finals. It felt so good to be able to get there with the team.”
(The Karns City competitive spirit team made history, advancing to the second day and to the finals for the first time and placed fifth in the Large Varsity Division)
Karns City scored 75.9 points in the finals. Neshannock won the state title with 84.5 points.
“We were extremely excited,” Ritzert said. “Our goal was to get to the second day. Getting to the finals was icing on the cake. Our best performance of the year was in the finals.”
Morrow is no stranger to performing on big stages.
In addition to playing soccer and volleyball for Karns City, she is very active in school musicals.
She has been since she was in the seventh grade.
“You’d be surprised how the feeling is the same waiting to go on the mat and waiting backstage to run on to perform in a musical because the nerves are all the same,” Morrow said. “Even though the show is two hours and the cheer performance is two and a half minutes, the pressure is the same to do everything you can to make the performance the best that you can.”
Morrow said this achievement is one of the most satisfying of her athletic career.
“It meant a lot to the entire team to make it that far,” Morrow said. “We really knew we were making Karns City history. Making it to the second day, we weren’t really expecting it because in our past performances, we haven’t really won many competitions. Then making it to the second day and then making it to the finals — that was just amazing, really.”