Battle of the Fans VIII: Meet the Finalists
January 28, 2019
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The reigning champion and two first-time finalists have earned the opportunity to vie for the MHSAA's “Battle of the Fans VIII” championship recognizing the top high school student cheering section in Michigan, as awarded by the Student Advisory Council.
Buchanan, North Muskegon and Saginaw Heritage were selected as finalists by the Advisory Council from a group of nine semifinalists that took part in a series of social media challenges highlighting their sections over the last two weeks.
Members of the MHSAA staff will visit all three finalists over the next three weeks, producing articles about each section and videos of those sections in action, all to be published on Second Half.
The winner will be selected by another vote by the 16-member Advisory Council, with consideration given to a public vote on the MHSAA’s social media sites. This year’s winner will be announced Feb. 22 and recognized March 15 at the Breslin Center.
Buchanan is seeking its second straight BOTF championship and also won in 2013 and was a finalist in both 2014 and 2015. North Muskegon and Heritage are both first-time finalists; this was the second time North Muskegon applied for BOTF, and the third time Heritage had applied.
The MHSAA will visit the finalists for the following home basketball games:
Feb. 1: Midland Dow at Saginaw Heritage (girls)
Feb. 8: Parchment at Buchanan (boys)
Feb. 12: Montague at North Muskegon (boys)
Petoskey and Wayland just missed claiming the third finalist spot. Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard, Carson City-Crystal, Petersburg-Summerfield and Traverse City West also were semifinalists.
“With Heritage from Class A, Buchanan from Class B and North Muskegon from Class C, we’re thrilled to have finalists representing such a wide range of school sizes – and we’re excited to see our three finalists up close and in person,” said Andy Frushour, MHSAA director of brand management and advisor to the Student Advisory Council.
“Buchanan is a perennial power and has become the gold standard for high school student sections. Heritage was very involved during the fall Sportsmanship Summits, and that momentum carried over to this winter as the section has supported its top-ranked girls basketball team. North Muskegon has come out of nowhere – but is proof of how just a little bit of organization can lead to major student section changes over only a few months.”
Let's meet the finalists:
BUCHANAN -THE HERD
Follow on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (theherd_bhs)
Tip #3 - THE CHAIN EFFECT - Maya S. pic.twitter.com/gOpvtNBCUd
— The Herd (@TheHerd_BHS) January 25, 2019
NORTH MUSKEGON - NORSE NATION
Follow on Twitter and Instagram
SAGINAW HERITAGE - HAWK NEST
Follow on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (hhshawknest)
#16 CONGRATS #BOTF pic.twitter.com/QKDvbdYe5I
— HHS Student Section (@HHShawknest) January 19, 2019
Battle of the Fans is organized by MHSAA staff and the Student Advisory Council. For the second year under a revamped format, schools were invited throughout the fall to submit short videos, via YouTube, of their cheering sections in action. The Advisory Council then selected nine semifinalists to accomplish a list of tasks showing off their sections over a 12-day span.
Semifinalists were required to complete 10 challenges via their social media channels. Five mandatory challenges focused on contest criteria: positive sportsmanship, student body participation, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of the group, student section leadership and overall fun. Semifinalists then selected five elective challenges (taken from a list of 15 opportunities). Descriptions of all 20 challenges are available on the MHSAA Website.
A total of 20 schools applied for this year’s contest – including six first-time applicants. Three semifinalists each were selected from the Class A, Class B and Class C/D applicants. See below for a play list of all 20 applicants.
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.
Performance of the Week: Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner
March 24, 2023
Regan Finkbeiner ♦ Hemlock
Senior ♦ Basketball
The 5-foot-6 guard capped her high school career at Breslin Center over the weekend with team highs of 24 points and four steals in Thursday’s 57-26 Division 3 Semifinal win over Hart and the team-leading 19 points and four assists in the 59-43 win over Blissfield on Saturday that clinched the Huskies their first MHSAA Finals championship in girls basketball.
Finkbeiner played all but four minutes of 64 total over the two games, and she made a combined 15 of her 27 shots from the floor and 9 of 10 free throw attempts, plus four 3-pointers in the Final. She had entered the season’s final week averaging 17.1 points, 3.5 assists and 4.8 steals per game and in February became the program’s all-time leading scorer breaking the previous record of 1,302. A standout in multiple sports, she’s committed to continue playing softball after high school at Madonna University. Her basketball team finished 26-3 this winter.
@mhsaasports 🏀POW: Regan Finkbeiner #performanceoftheweek #basketball #champion #congrats #huskies #hemlock #letsgo #moana #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok #mistudentaid #fyp ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat
Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.
MHSAA.com's "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
March 16: Alaina Yaney, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Report
March 9: Braeden Davis, Dundee wrestling - Report
March 2: Gabriel Sanchez-Burks, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Feb. 23: Grace Sobczak, Marquette swimming - Report
Feb. 16: Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9: Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2: Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26: Shayne Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19: Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20: Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16: Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9: Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2: Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24: Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17: Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10: Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3: Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27: Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20: Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13: Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6: Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30: Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22: Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15: Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8: Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1: Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25: Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report
PHOTO Hemlock's Regan Finkbeiner drives to the basket during her team's Semifinal win over Hart. (Photos courtesy of the Hemlock girls basketball program.)