Contact: Geoff Kimmerly
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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Feb. 22 – The North Muskegon High School student cheering section has been selected as this year’s Michigan High School Athletic Association “Battle of the Fans VIII” winner as the top student cheering section among member schools.
This was the eighth year for the contest, which was organized by MHSAA staff and its 16-member Student Advisory Council.
Student sections from Buchanan, North Muskegon and Saginaw Heritage 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.
"Norse Nation showed us this year what a dedicated student section can become with organized leadership and a plan," said Andy Frushour, MHSAA director of brand management and advisor to the Student Advisory Council. "North Muskegon took something it was proud of and made it even better. It was impossible to not feel the sense of community and fun as the student section cheered on its team during our visit."
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 Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard, Carson City-Crystal, Petersburg-Summerfield, Petoskey, Traverse City West and Wayland. 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 http://ow.ly/fual30nNAix. For links to stories and MHSAA-produced videos for all three finalists, click http://ow.ly/pZ5h30nNAcV. North Muskegon will accept its Battle of the Fans VIII championship banner during halftime of the first Division 2 Boys Basketball Semifinal on March 15 at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center. Buchanan and Saginaw Heritage also have been invited to Breslin to be honored for this season’s achievement.
North Muskegon, on Feb. 13, was the second of three stops on the MHSAA finalists tour.
“We are there supporting the basketball team, we are supporting our family, and I think that really rubbed off on the schools we’ve competed against and any other community members who came to watch us,” North Muskegon senior Kendal Hoppa said. "I’ve noticed an immense growth in schools in our conference and schools that we’ve played against having student sections of their own now – ‘We want to be like North Muskegon. Let’s organize this student section.’ It’s been awesome for our community and also communities around us as well.”
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.