BOTF VIII: It's Your Time to Shine

January 14, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Battle of the Fans VIII semifinalists: The spotlight is all yours. 

You have 12 days to show the MHSAA's Student Advisory Council why your section is a must-see on this year's BOTF finalists tour.

This year’s nine semifinalists are Petoskey, Saginaw Heritage and Traverse City West from Class A; Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard, Buchanan and Wayland from Class B; and Carson City-Crystal, North Muskegon and Petersburg-Summerfield from Class C/D.

Battle of the Fans VIII, organized by MHSAA staff and its 16-member Student Advisory Council, kicked off by inviting schools to submit short videos, via YouTube, of their cheering sections in action by Jan. 13. The Advisory Council has selected nine semifinalists to accomplish a list of tasks showing off their sections over the next 12 days – and the Council will then select three finalists for MHSAA visits.

This year’s winner will be announced Feb. 22 and recognized March 15 during the MHSAA Boys Basketball Semifinals at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

Semifinalists are required to complete 10 challenges via their social media channels by 11 p.m. on Jan. 26. Five mandatory challenges focus on contest criteria: positive sportsmanship, student body participation, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of the group, student section leadership and overall fun.

Five elective challenges (taken from a list of 15 opportunities) will allow semifinalists opportunities to show the unique characteristics that make their sections elite. Click to see descriptions of all 20 challenges on MHSAA.com.

“We’re basically in the ‘Regional’ round now, if you compare this competition to our other tournaments. And these nine challengers are just getting warmed up as they prepare to make a run at earning one of the three finalists visits,” said Andy Frushour, MHSAA director of brand management and advisor to the Student Advisory Council. “The next two weeks should be a lot of fun as we follow these student sections on social media. We’re looking forward to seeing their creativity and positivity.”

The Student Advisory Council will select the finalists for announcement Jan. 28 on the MHSAA Second Half website. MHSAA staff and Student Advisory Council members will visit all three finalists for home basketball games during the second half of this regular season, with coverage and video from those visits and the announcement of the winner all to be published on Second Half.

The winner will be selected by another Advisory Council vote based in part on support each section receives on the MHSAA’s social media sites. All social media postings regarding Battle of the Fans VIII should include the hashtag #BOTF. The MHSAA will share semifinalists’ challenge posts over the next two weeks on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites and Snapchat feed. The MHSAA also will post from the three finalists visits on those channels.

A total of 20 schools applied for this year’s contest, including six schools for the first time to bring the total to 97 member schools that have applied for the contest at least once over its eight-year existence. Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard is the only school that has applied all eight years.

Also among semifinalists, Buchanan and Traverse City West both have applied six times and Petoskey has applied five. Saginaw Heritage and Wayland are three-time applicants that made it past the first round this year for the first time, and North Muskegon has made it past the first round for the first time in its second attempt. Carson City-Crystal and Petersburg-Summerfield were among first-time applicants.

The other first-time applicants were Allendale, Chesaning, Niles and Oxford. “The addition of a number of new participants this year made the competition even more exciting,” Frushour added. 

Buchanan is the reigning BOTF champion. “The Herd” also won BOTF II in 2013 and made the finals in 2014 and 2015.

Traverse City West earned the BOTF title in 2016 and was a finalist in 2014 and 2017 and a semifinalist last year, while Petoskey was a finalist in 2012, 2017 and 2018. Father Gabriel Richard made the finals in 2013. 

Click to view all applications on YouTube.

The contest is sponsored in part by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, which promotes Michigan's locally-produced dairy products and nutrition education. Rules plus links to past years’ coverage of the contest can be found on the MHSAA #BOTF webpage.

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: Grand Ledge's Alaina Yaney

March 17, 2023

Alaina YaneyAlaina Yaney ♦ Grand Ledge
Senior ♦ Gymnastics

After finishing runner-up by just half a point as a junior, Yaney closed her high school gymnastics career Saturday with the Division 1 all-around championship, posting an all-around score of 38.075 and with first places on balance beam (9.475) and vault (9.700). She also tied for second on floor exercise (9.575) and finished third on uneven parallel bars (9.325). Her vault score tied for 16th-highest in Division 1 Finals competition all-time. 

Not surprisingly, Yaney also was her Regional's all-around champion (37.550). She also helped Grand Ledge finish eighth in Friday's Team Final competition, with her 37.475 the highest all-around score that day, before the next afternoon becoming the eighth Comets gymnast to win the Finals' Division 1 individual championship. A gymnast since age 3, Yaney will continue academically at Central Michigan Univerrsity and is considering attempting to walk-on the gymnastics team. 

@mhsaasports 🤸‍♀️POW: Alaina Yaney #performanceoftheweek #gymnast #allaround #beam #vault #firstplace #gymnastics #statechamp #champion #individual #record #grandledge #comets #congrats #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok#mistudentaid #fyp @alaina_yaney ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

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MI Student Aid

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.

2022-23 Honorees

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 Grand Ledge's Alaina Yaney competes during Friday's Team Final at White Lake Lakeland. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)