Contact: Geoff Kimmerly
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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Feb. 22 – The Buchanan High School student cheering section – “The Herd” – has been selected as this year’s Michigan High School Athletic Association “Battle of the Fans II” winner as the top student cheering section among member schools.
This was the second year for the contest, which was organized by MHSAA staff and its 16-member Student Advisory Council.
Student sections from Buchanan, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard, Frankenmuth, Vandercook Lake and Zeeland East were selected as finalists from 27 applicants. MHSAA staff and SAC members visited all five for home basketball games during the last five weeks and produced videos of each section for the MHSAA’s YouTube channel. A public Facebook vote was conducted beginning Tuesday and ending Thursday, and those results influenced the SAC vote as members selected the champion.
The Student Advisory Council also based its vote on the following criteria: positive sportsmanship, student body participation, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of the group, section leadership and overall fun.
“We’re seeing a real culture shift at the schools that have taken part in Battle of the Fans,” said Andy Frushour, MHSAA director of brand management and advisor to the Student Advisory Council. “The Battle of the Fans has shown that cheering on one’s classmates can be fun and the cool thing to do. On top of that, it’s made a visible impact on sportsmanship in our state – and we hope it’s the kind of idea that gets picked up nationally.”
Students were invited in December to submit a short video, via YouTube, of their cheering sections in action. To view finalists’ submissions on YouTube, click on http://bit.ly/YhAzJC. For links to stories and MHSAA-produced videos for all five finalists, click on http://bit.ly/YExW1j. Video of all five sections will be played on the Breslin Center HD scoreboard during the Girls and Boys Basketball Finals in March. Buchanan will receive an MHSAA championship banner during a break in the Boys Basketball Semifinals on March 22.
Buchanan, on Feb. 15, was the final stop on the MHSAA finalists tour.
“Words can’t really explain it. It just feels good that we are the best. There’s no guessing. We are the best," Buchanan senior Josh Money said. "I’m proud of our school, proud of our community. How much support we had throughout has just been amazing. I never knew it was going to come out to be this big.”
The Student Advisory Council is made up of eight seniors and eight juniors, who each serve two-year terms. The Council acts as the voice of Michigan's student-athletes; it serves as a student sounding board for the MHSAA's Representative Council, assists in planning Sportsmanship Summits, Captains Clinics and other student leadership events; participates in a yearly focus group about the state of high school sports for Michigan State University's Institute for the Study of Youth Sports and assists with medal ceremonies at MHSAA championship events.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,600 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract approximately 1.6 million spectators each year.