EAST LANSING, Mich. – Feb. 24 – The Frankenmuth High School student cheering section has been selected as this year’s Michigan High School Athletic Association “Battle of the Fans” winner as the top student cheering section among member schools. This was the first year for the contest, which was organized by MHSAA staff and its 16-member Student Advisory Council.
Student sections from Frankenmuth, Grand Rapids Christian, Petoskey, Reese and Rockford were selected as finalists from 19 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 Monday and ending Thursday, and those results were combined with a vote by SAC members to determine the champion.
SAC voting criteria included positive sportsmanship, volume of student section, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of group and student section leadership.
“The Battle of the Fans gave us an opportunity to promote a positive cheering atmosphere, and the fun that can go into creating one,” said Andy Frushour, MHSAA director of brand management and advisor to the Student Advisory Council. “Students typically roll their eyes when we talk about ‘sportsmanship.’ But this got them talking about it and practicing it. This contest drew submissions from all over the state, and we’re excited to see how it grows next year. “
Students were invited in December to submit a short video, via YouTube and Facebook, of their cheering sections in action. To view finalists’ submissions on YouTube, click on http://ow.ly/8y9s3. For links to stories and MHSAA-produced videos for all five sections, click on http://bit.ly/zyPcU8. Video of all five sections will be played on the Breslin Center HD scoreboard during the Girls and Boys Basketball Finals in March.
Frankenmuth, on Jan. 20, was the first stop on the MHSAA finalists tour.
"It's what we wanted to do when we started out. We really wanted to be the biggest, the best, the most creative, the loudest, the most outgoing. And that's obviously what we've done now," said Frankenmuth senior Brennan Webb, one of the section's founders and leaders. "I could tell since we started doing this last year and this year, people started bringing better student sections to games against us because they knew we were going to bring (fans). We influenced all the teams we've played. It's really awesome. You feel good."
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, Captain's Clinics and other student leadership events; participates in a yearly focus group about the state of high schools 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 1,500 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.