Contact: Geoff Kimmerly
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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Feb. 23 – The Buchanan High School student cheering section has been selected as this year’s Michigan High School Athletic Association “Battle of the Fans VII” winner as the top student cheering section among member schools.
This was the seventh year for the contest, which was organized by MHSAA staff and its 16-member Student Advisory Council. Buchanan previously also won Battle of the Fans II in 2013.
Student sections from Boyne City, Buchanan and Petoskey were selected as finalists from a pool of nine semifinalists after a social media “Challenge Round.” MHSAA staff visited all three finalists for home basketball games during the last three weeks and produced videos of each section for the MHSAA’s YouTube channel. A public vote was conducted on the MHSAA’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages beginning Tuesday and ending Thursday, and those results influenced the Advisory Council 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 saw again that the entire community of Buchanan gets behind 'The Herd,' and what students started six years ago is now part of the everyday culture of the school," said Andy Frushour, MHSAA director of brand management and advisor to the Student Advisory Council. "Multiple classes of students have become part of this tradition, and Buchanan's incredible level of student section support remains an example we can share with schools all over our state."
Students were invited during the fall to submit a short video, via YouTube, of their cheering sections in action. From that initial group of applicants, nine semifinalists were selected, also including Cedar Springs, Charlotte, Munising, Negaunee, Pellston and Traverse City West. Those semifinalists then were invited to take part in a series of social media “challenges” emphasizing the work of their student sections.
To view finalists’ application videos on YouTube, click on http://ow.ly/Xd5Y30izLMc. For links to stories and MHSAA-produced videos for all three finalists, click http://ow.ly/dl1930izLQg. Buchanan will accept its Battle of the Fans VII championship banner during halftime of the first Class B Boys Basketball Semifinal on March 23 at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center. Boyne City and Petoskey also have been invited to Breslin to be honored for this season’s achievement.
Buchanan, on Feb. 16, was the final stop on the MHSAA finalists tour.
"We created something from what was created in years past, and made it something we're all part of," Buchanan senior Jessica Lee said. "Putting all of our heart into something, seeing it become something so amazing ... it's just something really special for all of us.”
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 1,500 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 more than 1.4 million spectators each year.