D4 Preview: New Contenders in Mix as Hudson Seeks to Reign Again

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 3, 2022

For five straight seasons, Hudson has finished first or second at the MHSAA Division 4 Competitive Cheer Finals – with the Tigers winning back-to-back championships the last two seasons.

They’re likely the team to chase again Friday at Grand Rapids’ Delta Plex. And an intriguing mix of contenders will attempt to do so.

Pewamo-Westphalia is the only other past champion among the eight finalists, and Montrose and Mason County Central are making the trip for the first time. Beal City is back for the first time in a long time and has posted the highest score not by Hudson in the division, while Addison, Adrian Madison and Lawton are returning finalists aspiring to continue to climb.

Division 4 competition begins at 2 p.m. Friday. Tickets cost $10 and may be bought at the Delta Plex, and all four Finals will be broadcast live on MHSAA.tv and viewable with a subscription. More information, including the spectator seating chart, is posted at MHSAA.com.

Below is a look at all eight finalists:

League finish: Second in Cascades Conference.
Coach: Haley Miller, second season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 714.54 at Regional.
Team composition: Five total (four seniors, one sophomore).
Outlook: The Panthers finished fifth last season and third in 2020, and have built toward this weekend with three of their top four scores this season coming over their last four competitions. Senior Jenah Hamlin earned a Division 1 all-state honorable mention last season.

League finish: Does not compete in a league.
Coach: Sarah Kope, third season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 721.26 at Regional
Team composition: 14 total (five seniors, three juniors, three sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Madison is coming off its second-straight fourth-place Finals finish, and two of the team’s top three scores have come during the postseason. The Trojans have finished first or second in all of their competitions this winter. Junior Kaylee Paulette made the all-region first team last season and seniors Lillian Wager, Julia Mohr and Inessa Aranda are past all-state honorees.

League finish: First in Highland Conference
Coach: Bailie Erway, fourth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 756.59
Team composition: Nine total (four seniors, one sophomore, for freshmen).
Outlook: The Aggies won their District and finished runner-up at their Regional to reach the Finals for the first time since 2001. They’ve broken 700 points four times this winter. Seniors Kyleigh Konwinski and Zeta Zeneberg earned all-District recognition last season.

League finish: First in Lenawee County Athletic Association.
Coach: Kelly Bailey, 25th season
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2021), six runner-up finishes.
Top score: 760.14.
Team composition: 21 total (two seniors, 10 juniors, six sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Hudson won its second straight and third championship in four seasons a year ago, finishing seven points ahead of the field. The Tigers have scored 750 or more points in seven competitions including the District and Regional as they’ve won all of their events this winter. Senior Maize Sholl and juniors Logan Parks and Cheyenne Eichler made the all-state first team last season, while juniors Annalyse Ames, Isabella Moreno and Ellevera Bean made the second team and sophomore Rylie Bloomer earned an honorable mention.

League finish: First in Southwestern Athletic Conference
Coach: Holly James, ninth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 708.62 at District.
Team composition: Nine total (four juniors, four sophomores, one freshmen).
Outlook: A Lawton team that also was young a year ago has continued to build, earning this second-straight trip to the Finals after finishing seventh in 2021. The team’s top score coming into the Finals is six points higher than a year ago, and Lawton has won all of its competitions while going over 700 points in four of its last six meets. Junior Mikayla Reynolds made the all-state second team last season, and junior Rylee Oxley earned an honorable mention.

League finish: Second in West Michigan Conference
Coach: Cheri Stibitz, 15th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 720.6
Team composition: Nine total (one senior, six juniors, two sophomores).
Outlook: Stibitz started the Spartans’ program in 2009, and this will be their first trip to the Finals – after also making their first to Regionals. Mason County Central won five invitationals during the regular season and never placed lower than third until coming in fourth (but advancing) last weekend. Juniors Brooke Wood, Geralyn Soberalski and Sarah Houghton and sophomore Emily Adams earned all-Regional recognition in 2021.

League finish: Does not compete in a league.
Coach: Sabrina Urmetz, eighth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: N/A, but scored 724.26 at District.
Team composition: 13 total (six seniors, two juniors, three sophomores, two freshmen).
Outlook: Montrose has advanced to the Finals for the first time, after finishing third at a Regional that had the top four scores in the division last weekend. The Rams had just missed the Finals with a fifth-place Regional finish a year ago. Senior Bree Owens and junior Felicity LaVigne earned all-Regional honorable mention in 2021.

League finish: Does not compete in a league.
Coach: Staci Myers, 15th season
Championship history: Nine MHSAA titles (most recent 2019), 12 runner-up finishes.
Top score: 680.76.
Team composition: 14 total (two seniors, two juniors, three sophomores, seven freshmen).
Outlook: The Pirates are coming off their second-straight Finals runner-up finish after winning Division 4 in 2019. Half of this team is freshmen, but P-W is anchored by athletes who have made one or more runs at the championship. Senior Halie Myers and junior Emma Flanigan made the all-state second team last season – both also received all-state recognition in 2020 – and sophomore Marissa Harp earned an honorable mention.

PHOTO Hudson competes during Round 3 of last season's Division 4 Finals at Breslin Center. (Click for more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

State Champs! Network: 2023 Competitive Cheer Finals Highlights

March 30, 2023

Join Kara Liles and Christina Wilson-Peacock as we take a look at all of the action from the 2023 MHSAA Cheer State Finals.

Congratulations to our State Champions
Division 1 - Rochester
Division 2 - Gibraltar Carlson
Division 3 - Croswell-Lexington
Division 4 - Hudson