Preview: New Home, New Schedule, Newcomers, Reigning Champions Headline Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 1, 2023

There is plenty of new heading into this weekend’s MHSAA Competitive Cheer Finals – and some more could spring up before Friday’s last championship meet is complete.

The two-day event has a new home – McGuirk Arena at Central Michigan University – and a new schedule with two Finals on Thursday and two on Friday, at 1 and 6 p.m. both days. A series of first-time qualifiers also help fill the field.

Four teams have had a hold on their respective divisions the last few years, as Richmond in Division 3 is seeking its fifth-straight championship and Rochester Adams in Division 1, Allen Park in Division 2 and Hudson in Division 4 all are competing for fourth-consecutive titles. A new champion or more would surely be among headliners during a busy Finals weekend across three sports.

The full schedule, plus information on purchasing tickets and how to watch online are all available on the Competitive Cheer page of

Division 1

League finish: Second in Kensington Lakes Activities Association
Coach: Christina Wilson, 10th season
Championship history: Class A runner-up 1999.
Top score: 787.74 at District.
Team composition: 27 total (four seniors, seven juniors, six sophomores, 10 freshmen).
Outlook: After ending last season fifth at its Regional, Brighton is headed back to the Finals. The Bulldogs finished second at both their District and Regional and have broken 785 points four times this season – including at those two postseason events and the KLAA championship meet. Senior Natalie Rodgers led four returnees who earned all-District recognition in 2022.

League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Red
Coach: Julie Smith-Boyd, 42nd season
Championship history: Six MHSAA titles (most recent 2015), 10 runner-up finishes.
Top score: 790.28.
Team composition: 30 total (two seniors, 17 juniors, four sophomores, seven freshmen).
Outlook: After finishing runner-up in 2021, Grandville placed seventh a year ago and will look to jump back into contention with scores of at least 782 in six of their last seven events. Juniors Brie Vanderplow, Lexsee Pawloski, Jodi O’Dell and Avery Polinskey all earned all-Regional honors last season.

League finish: First in KLAA
Coach: Candace Fahr, sixth season
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2013.
Top score: 789.98
Team composition: 27 total (seven seniors, 11 juniors, seven sophomores, two freshmen).
Outlook: Hartland returned to the Finals last season after a year away with a fourth-place finish, and the Eagles are primed to contend coming off District and Regional championships and three straight overall scores of 787 or higher. They’ve won seven of 10 competitions this season. Senior Ashley Kretz and junior Molly Woolf made the all-state first team last year, while juniors Grace DeYoung and Samantha Mollard made the second team and juniors Kaylee Balagna and Aspen Smith earned honorable mentions.

League finish: Second in Macomb Area Conference Red
Coach: Lauren Turner, second season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 791.70 at District.
Team composition: 24 total (five seniors, 10 juniors, six sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: The Crusaders have strung together their four best total scores over their last five competitions and followed up their District championship with a fourth-place Regional finish after the three Rochester-area teams posted the top three scores at either Division 1 meet last weekend. Juniors Ina Harding and Hannah Waters were among top returnees after making the all-District first and second teams, respectively, last season.

League finish: First in Lakes Valley Conference
Coach: Patti Warzecha, 12th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 777.94
Team composition: 23 total (three seniors, nine juniors, eight sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Milford reached Regionals for the fourth-straight season and took the next step in making the Finals for the first time. The Mavericks have topped 772 points in five of their last six competitions and 777 three times. Senior Leah Fitzgerald made the all-District first team last year, and sophomores Emme Dreffs and Kenleigh Bailey made the second team.

League finish: First in Oakland Activities Association Red
Coach: Samantha Koehler, first season
Championship history: 14 MHSAA titles (most recent 2017).
Top score: 793.16
Team composition: 26 total (nine seniors, four juniors, 10 sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Koehler, who formerly led a strong program at Plymouth from 2016-22, took over this one from Susan Wood – who had led Rochester to all 14 of its championships dating back to the first year of Finals in 1994. Koehler has watched the Falcons score 790 or higher their last three competitions and finish first or second in all of them this winter. After missing the Finals in 2021, Rochester returned with a fifth-place finish last year. Senior Martina Dedvukaj earned an all-state honorable mention.

League finish: Second in OAA Red
Coach: Brooke Miller, ninth season
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2022), three runner-up finishes.
Top score: 794.16
Team composition: 28 total (12 seniors, eight juniors, four sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: Adams has won three straight Division 1 championships and strung together five straight seasons finishing among the Finals top two. The Highlanders have won their last four competitions this winter and topped 791 points in their last three including District and Regional wins. Seniors Katie Burgin, Alex Ris and Ashley Rosati are returning all-state second-team selections, and seniors Emma Maynard and Peyton Regalado earned honorable mentions in 2022.

League finish: Third in OAA Red
Coach: Tricia Williams, 20th season
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 2019), Division 1 runner-up 2022.
Top score: 792.76 at Regional.
Team composition: 26 total (four seniors, 12 juniors, six sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: Stoney Creek is coming off missing the championship last season by just more than 2.3 points, and finished third at least week’s Regional but just 42 hundredths of a point off tying the highest score in Division 1 for the weekend. That 792.76 was the second time the team had broken 790 this season and its third time above 789. Juniors Kacey Bauer and Abigail DeGraw made the all-state second team last season, and junior Alison Kalaj earned an honorable mention.

Division 2

League finish: Second in Downriver League
Coach: Julie Goodwin, 17th season
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2022), four runner-up finishes.
Top score: 795.42.
Team composition: 27 total (11 seniors, 11 juniors, three sophomores, two freshmen).
Outlook: The Jaguars have finished first or second in Division 2 the last seven seasons, claiming the last three titles. After finishing second at the Downriver League championship competition, Allen Park has responded with three of its top four scores this season, including also a 794.98 to win its District and 789.40 to win its Regional. Seniors Kristina Beste, Alyssa Rios and Madisyn Setser made the all-state first team last season, while seniors Aleia Breckenridge and Emma Buffa made the second team and seniors Madison Buchanan and Emma Williams earned honorable mentions.

League finish: Second in Saginaw Valley League
Coach: August Jaynes, fifth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 776.36 at Regional.
Team composition: 19 total (seven seniors, three sophomores, nine freshmen).
Outlook: Western has finished first or second at its last nine competitions and won both its District and Regional, with that 776.36 five points higher than its previous best for this winter. Both championships were program firsts, and this will be the Warriors’ first trip to the Finals. Senior Bella Glumm was named SVL MVP this season, and with senior teammates Gabbie Goulette, Ambria Nagel, Shea Walli and Allison Kaczmarczyk was among first and second-team all-District honorees in 2022.

League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League Bishop
Co-coaches: Amber Genevich, 18th season; Shelley McClorey, sixth season
Championship history: Four Finals runner-up finishes (most recent 2014).
Top score: 789.34 at District.
Team composition: 19 total (two seniors, eight juniors, six sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Divine Child returned to the Finals last season after two away and finished fourth, a solid springboard as they look to jump into contention this weekend with that District score one of three times the Falcons have broken 784 this winter. Seniors Abby Krizmanich and Elena Solomon both earned all-state honorable mentions last season.

League finish: First in Downriver League
Coach: Alyssa Tocco, second season
Championship history: 11 MHSAA titles (most recent 2019), seven runner-up finishes.
Top score: 793.98.
Team composition: 27 total (nine seniors, three juniors, five sophomores, 10 freshmen).
Outlook: Carlson finished runner-up last season, the second time over the last three. The Marauders return to the Finals this weekend after placing just ahead of Allen Park in the league and winning their District, but finishing two hundredths of a point behind the Jaguars at the Regional. Carlson has gone over 781 points its last six competitions and 788 four of those six including the Regional (789.38). Senior Kaitlyn Demers is a returning all-state first teamer, while seniors Tiaira Michalik, Ellen Szucs and Emilee Bain made the second team last season and senior Ciana Caliguire and junior Mya Oikarinen earned honorable mentions.

League finish: First in O-K White
Coach: Carly Sienkiewicz, sixth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 771.50.
Team composition: 18 total (seven seniors, three juniors, four sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: Forest Hills Northern returned to the Finals last season for the first time since 1998, and placed sixth, and the Huskies are returning after jumping 16 points from a third-place District finish to qualify fourth at their Regional. They entered the postseason with two straight scores of 770 or higher and cleared the Regional cut line by almost eight points. FHN is among teams with valuable experience heading into this weekend, as all three of last year’s all-state honorees are back – seniors Julie Fiser (first team), Alexis Linder (second team) and Jennessa Byl (honorable mention).

League finish: Tied for first in Capital Area Activities Conference Red
Coach: Angela Boerkoel, 11th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 765.82.
Team composition: 20 total (six seniors, four juniors, four sophomores, six freshmen). 
Outlook: The Bulldogs are back after missing the Finals last season and nearly equaled their high score getting here with a 765.78 to place third at their Regional. It’s been another nice jump after the team fell one spot shy of making Regionals in 2022. Boerkoel, who formerly coached Brighton, has led Mason to three league titles and now two Finals appearances over the past three seasons, and her team finished third or better at all of its competitions this winter. Senior Eleana Young made the all-District second team last season.

League finish: First in O-K Gold
Coach: Adrian Nichols, third season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 772.64 at Regional.
Team composition: 15 total (three seniors, four juniors, two sophomores, six freshmen).
Outlook: The Trojans are returning to the Finals for the first time since 2015. They made a magnificent jump at their Regional, with the 772.64 nearly 14 points higher than their previous high total score this season. MTK was second at the Regional after winning the District, and has won 10 competitions total and finished second in its other three. Juniors Mali Holland, Ava Jahnke and Kenady Smith all made the all-District second team last year.

League finish: Second in LVC
Coach: Julia Tilt, fourth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 780.06.
Team composition: 20 total (five seniors, five juniors, six sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: South Lyon East has made an incredible climb under Tilt to reach the Finals for the first time – from not qualifying for Regionals in 2020, to placing seventh at Regionals in 2021 and fifth last year and now advancing with a fourth-place finish. After finishing second at their District two weeks ago, the Cougars were nearly 27 points better at the Regional with a 769.18 and have gone 771 or higher five times. Senior Cassie Ryan made the all-Regional second team last season, and senior Hannah Westlund and junior Natalie Tilt earned honorable mentions.

Division 3

League finish: Second in Blue Water Area Conference
Coach: Katie Tomlinson, eighth season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 783.38 at District.
Team composition: 28 total (eight seniors, six juniors, 12 sophomores, two freshmen).
Outlook: Croswell-Lexington has finished fourth, fifth and fourth the last three seasons and last year scored within nine points of the lead. The Pioneers could push even higher this time. They finished second to four-time reigning Division 3 champion Richmond in the BWAC this winter, then second at their District to Pontiac Notre Dame Prep by fewer than three points and third at their Regional to those two powers but less than six points off the lead. Junior Shelby Oliver made the all-state second team last season, and junior Cora Katulski earned honorable mention.

League finish: Second in Huron League
Coach: Angela Raithel, sixth season
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 2010), Division 3 runner-up 2009.
Top score: 768.92 at Regional.
Team composition: 17 total (one senior, six juniors, seven sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Grosse Ile has earned its first Finals trip since 2014, climbing from third at its District to fourth at its Regional to qualify. Raithel has been building toward this moment, with the Red Devils also claiming District titles the last two seasons and just missing out on the Finals with a fifth place at their Regional last year. Lone senior Amanda Hancock made the all-Regional first team last season, while junior Sienna Ross made the second team and sophomores Marissa Trombley and Virginia West earned honorable mentions. 

League finish: First in Central State Activities Association
Coach: Jennifer Laskey, 16th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 757.38.
Team composition: 24 total (five seniors, five juniors, 11 sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Tri County returned to the Finals last season after two years away, and is making a repeat trip with a top score this time 10 points higher than a year ago. That jump also has included a District title and runner-up finish at its Regional, and eight competition wins overall. Senior Madalynn Laskey is a returning all-state first-team selection, and senior MaLeea Neely earned honorable mention last season.

League finish: First in Greater Lansing Activities Conference
Coach: Kim Martin, 31st season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 766.81
Team composition: 20 total (four seniors, seven juniors, eight sophomores, one freshman).
Outlook: Lakewood is making its second-straight Finals appearance and seventh over the last 11 seasons, and placed seventh a year ago. The Vikings have won six competitions and placed second at two others including the District before finishing fourth at their Regional. Lakewood also has won 14 straight league titles. Senior Emily Root made the all-Regional second team last season.

League finish: First in Wolverine Conference
Coach: Stefanie Miller, 14th season
Championship history: Division 3 runner-up 2022 and 2021.
Top score: 768.86 at Regional.
Team composition: 16 total (two seniors, five juniors, two sophomores, seven freshmen).
Outlook: Paw Paw has finished a point or less behind champion Richmond the last two seasons and returns to the Finals with District and Regional titles and victories in all but one competition overall this season. While nine seniors topped last year’s lineup, this one has experience too but just among younger athletes. Junior Molly Goodwin made the all-state first team last season, while juniors Naveh Davenport and Maya Leonard and sophomore Ashley Olsen made the second team and junior Madison Lasinski earned an honorable mention.  

League finish: First in CAAC White
Coach: Mindy Blaschka, 10th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 764.34.
Team composition: 22 total (four seniors, 10 juniors, four sophomores, four freshmen).
Outlook: A younger team that finished sixth last year in its first Finals trip now has that experience and a large junior class as it returns coming off league and District titles and a third place at its Regional. The Raiders have broken 753 three times over their last six competitions. Senior Lily Buckland earned an all-state honorable mention last season, and juniors Abigail Rice and Autumn Schafer were second-team all-Regional selections.

League finish: Does not compete in a league.
Coach: Beth Lockhart, 11th season
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2018), three runner-up finishes.
Top score: 786.08 at District.
Team composition: 17 total (three seniors, three juniors, six sophomores, five freshmen).
Outlook: The Fighting Irish last finished runner-up in 2020 and placed third the last two seasons, just a half-point off the lead a year ago. They should be in the mix again with wins in all of their competitions except one, a runner-up finish at the Rochester Adams Invitational. The District and Regional titles came against fields including reigning champion Richmond. Junior Alaina Byrne and sophomore Haleigh Campbell earned all-state honorable mentions last season and were joined by senior Ashley Quinn and sophomore Grace Kincade in also receiving all-Regional recognition.

League finish: First in BWAC
Coach: Kelli Matthes, 15th season
Championship history: Six MHSAA titles (most recent 2022), five runner-up finishes.
Top score: 783.74
Team composition: 25 total (seven seniors, three juniors, eight sophomores, seven freshmen).
Outlook: Richmond has finished among the top two in Division 3 eight straight seasons and won the last four titles, but faces an interesting challenge after finishing third at its District and second at its Regional with NDP winning both. Still, the Blue Devils have topped 781 twice and 777 two more times, and bring back plenty of standouts with championship experience. Juniors Annabell Loftis and Ana Moskwa and sophomore Faith Thompson made the all-state first team last season, while senior Nicole Ostaszewski, junior Alyssa DeBlouw and sophomore Camryn Moore made the second team.

Division 4

League finish: Does not compete in a league.
Coach: Sarah Kope, fourth season
Championship history: Division 4 runner-up 2022.
Top score: 731.52 at District.
Team composition: 14 total (four seniors, four juniors, three sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Madison is back after its history-making finish a year ago and with a top score 10 points higher than at this point last season. The Regional third place was the team’s first finish outside of the top two this season. Sophomore Mya Solis made the all-state first team last winter, while seniors Abby Griewahn, Danielle Vallejo and Kaylee Paulette made the second team and junior Delaney Dopp earned honorable mention.

League finish: First in West Michigan Conference
Co-coaches: Jennifer Hlady, 12th season; Ashleigh Andritsis, first season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 752.84.
Team composition: Seven total (three seniors, two juniors, two sophomores).
Outlook: Hart missed the Finals last season while competing in Division 3 after finishing eighth in Division 4 in 2021, and has been unstoppable so far this winter with victories in all 14 competitions including by 36 points at the District and 23 at the Regional. The 744.93 at that District was the team’s second-highest total score. Sophomore LexieBeth Nienhuis made the all-Regional second team last season, and junior Jasmyne Villanueva earned an honorable mention.

League finish: First in Lenawee County Athletic Association
Coach: Kelly Bailey, 26th season
Championship history: Four MHSAA titles (most recent 2022), six runner-up finishes.
Top score: 774.94
Team composition: 19 total (seven seniors, seven juniors, two sophomores, three freshmen).
Outlook: Hudson has finished first or second in Division 4 the last six seasons and won three straight titles, and last year’s 50-point Finals win could be a sign of what’s to come this weekend as well. The Tigers also are undefeated this winter with an average total score of 750.42 and scores above that in seven-straight competitions before posting a 740.38 to win the Regional. Seniors Cheyenne Eichler and Annalyse Ames and juniors Rylie Bloomer and Victoria Hawkins made the all-state first team last season, while seniors Ellie Bean, Shantzee Henderson and Isabella Moreno made the second team and junior Paige Clark earned an honorable mention.

League finish: First in Southwestern Athletic Conference
Coach: Holly James, 10th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 738.08.
Team composition: 13 total (four seniors, four juniors, one sophomore, four freshmen).
Outlook: Lawton has won 10 competitions this season including its District after the team improved from seventh in 2021 to third at last year’s Final. Its top score is nearly 30 points higher than when entering championship weekend a year ago. The Blue Devils are another team with plenty of returning star power, with seniors Rylee Oxley and Mikayla Reynolds and junior Kiera Banks returning all-state first teamers, senior Casandra Salgado and sophomore Amanda Aumaugher back from the second team and senior Samantha Gorenchan and junior Amanda Aumaugher having earned honorable mentions in 2022.

League finish: Second in West Michigan Conference
Coach: Cheri Stibitz, 14th season
Championship history: Seeking first top-two Finals finish.
Top score: 731.56.
Team composition: 12 total (seven seniors, two juniors, one sophomore, two freshmen).
Outlook: MCC is headed to the Finals for the second-straight season after qualifying last year for the first time. The Spartans have finished first, second or third at all of their competitions, even stronger considering five were league meets that included undefeated Hart, as did the Regional. They also reached 731.22 in finishing runner-up at their District. Senior Geralyn Soberalski made the all-state first team last season, junior Emily Adams made the second and junior Marissa Quillan earned honorable mention.

League finish: Second in Mid-State Activities Conference
Coach: Jena Glazier, third season
Championship history: Division 4 runner-up 2014.
Top score: 717.50.
Team composition: 10 total (two seniors, six juniors, one sophomore, one freshman).
Outlook: The Vandals are returning to the Finals for the first time since 2018, with their six best total scores coming over their last seven competitions. Merrill made the jump after falling a place shy of reaching the Regional last season. Senior Brooke Breasbois made the all-District first team last season, and juniors Veda Gagne and Samantha Grubaugh made the second.

League finish: First in Cascades Conference
Co-coaches: Jessica Trefry, 22nd season; Bree Cash, first season
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2014), one runner-up finish.
Top score: 745.94 at District.
Team composition: 14 total (two seniors, five juniors, two sophomores, five freshmen).
Outlook: Michigan Center is making its first Finals appearance since 2019 and appears set to join the elite with four of their last seven scores 730 or higher and two 742 or better. The Cardinals finished second at their Regional to Hudson after winning their District with that season-high score. They just missed reaching Regionals in Division 3 last season, when junior Kate Paterson and sophomore Emma McIntyre made the all-District second team.

League finish: Second in GLAC
Coach: Staci Myers, 16th season
Championship history: Nine MHSAA titles (most recent 2019), 12 runner-up finishes.
Top score: 722.6.
Team composition: 13 total (two seniors, one junior, five sophomores, five freshmen)
Outlook: The Pirates are bringing another young team to the Finals after finishing sixth a year ago, but they are coming off runner-up finishes at their District and Regional and also finished second to Lakewood in the GLAC after joining the league for cheer this season. There’s a good deal of experience; senior Emma Flanigan made the all-state second team last season, and she was joined by senior Emily Schmitt, junior Sophia Simon and sophomores Miriam Downes and Jayde Ferguson in earning all-Regional recognition.

PHOTO Grosse Ile will be making its first MHSAA Finals appearance in competitive cheer this weekend since 2014. (Photo by Terry Jacoby.)

Several Officials Give Time, Talents to Grant $21,000 in Scholarships at 22nd LMCCOA Meet

By Steve Vedder
Special for

February 14, 2024

Jane Plaisted thinks it's one of those rare high school sporting events where scores and winners are secondary.

Instead, the focus of the recent Lake Michigan Competitive Cheer Officials Association meet is what the event could do for 75 seniors who competed in the sprawling 45-team meet at Byron Center.

All proceeds from the event went to fund scholarships for seniors who opted to write essays and then competed in the annual 22-year-old, three-division meet. The competition, which was completely run by LMCCOA judges, raised $21,000 to up its fundraising total to over $200,000 since the meet originated in 2001.

"It was a glorious day," said Plaisted, an LMCCOA member who has participated in 15 of the competitions. "The girls are happy, we're happy to give our time and it's such a positive day. We love being a part of it."

The event drew teams from as far away as St. Johns, DeWitt, Kalamazoo and Howard City Tri County. The chance to earn scholarship money was open to all 190 seniors who competed, and 75 chose to write an essay about "talking to their younger self and determining how competitive cheer has helped the athlete," said Stacy Smith, the president of the Michigan Cheer Judges Association. Smith said much of the event's dual goal is to promote competitive cheer while helping senior athletes wherever there is a financial need.

Several officials contribute to making the meet an unforgettable experience. The meet started with just five teams and a few hundred dollars in scholarships in 2001, but has blossomed into one of the largest single-day high school sports fundraisers in the state. The meet, which has been held at Byron Center three times as well as schools such as Caledonia and East Kentwood, reached a peak of raising $25,000 a year ago.

What makes the day particularly special, Smith said, is that between 50 and 70 members of the LMCCOA annually show up to donate their time without knowing how their abilities will be put to use. In addition to judging the meet, members handle virtually every other aspect of the competition, from taking tickets, working the concession stand, filling water bottles, scoring, running a 50/50 raffle and whatever else organizers can find for them to do.

"Cheer athletes aren't always recognized a lot for their work, but it's a sport where (Michigan) colleges have gained notoriety at the national level and now offer scholarships," Smith said. "It's become a big deal in the state. Division I and II schools and NAIA schools all offer scholarships now. This can help."

Seniors who choose to participate write their essay prior to the meet, and then a committee of judges pore over the writings during the meet. Winners are announced following the competition. Twenty-one seniors were awarded scholarship money.

Smith said few parents probably grasp how much detail goes into running a long, grueling Saturday event.

"I'm not sure if people realize all the hands that have to make this happen," she said. "We've been doing it for 20 years, and for us it's like riding a bike. You never forget. It's just a wonderful day.

"I'm not surprised people want to be part of it and step up wherever they're needed."

Plaisted said judges sign up for jobs when they arrive at the meet. A judge can be officiating an event one minute and selling hot dogs moments later. The 'work wherever needed' attitude of judges, she said, is what makes the event a popular destination for participating schools.

"As officials, we emphasize young women participating," she said. "That old concept of the dumb blonde cheerleader doesn't exist anymore. This is an accomplished group of girls who we support. If you talk to any of (the judges), this meet is one of the most fun things we're going to do all season.

The LMCCOA also awarded scholarships to seniors from Division 2 and 3 schools."It's become so popular. We gave away like $50 the first year, and since then we've grown from one long day to two sessions so we could increase the number of teams. Everyone goes home with a smile on their face, which for officials doesn't always happen."

Paw Paw cheer coach Stefanie Miller, whose team won the Division 3 portion of the meet, said coaches look forward to taking their teams to the meet.

"Absolutely because it's all about community," she said. "We talk to the girls about service and giving back. It's definitely a teachable moment, not only for the kids but for the adults, too, knowing what goes to the seniors."

"What I like best is that it promotes the athletes and all the work they put in. It's about giving back to them," added Brighton coach Christina Wilson, whose team won the Division 1 competition. "So many teams want to attend, and the coaches want the players to have a chance at a scholarship.

"I'm just in awe of seeing so many people there who are willing to give their energy for the kids."

One of Miller's favorite parts of the meet is watching fathers do a cheer "jump off" of their own tongue-in-cheek cheering skills while waiting for the final scores. She also loves volunteers making nearly 200 bows for participants to wear during the meet.

"Fathers do these cheerleader-type (routines) while there is a lull and it's just great," she said. "It's fun stuff like that that makes the day so special. It's all about giving back."

PHOTOS (Top) MHSAA official Jane Plaisted takes a photo with this year’s LMCCOA Division 1 scholarship winners. (Middle) Several officials contribute to making the meet an unforgettable experience. (Below) The LMCCOA also awarded scholarships to seniors from Division 2 and 3 schools. (Photos courtesy of Stacy Smith.)