The Izzone. Cameron Crazies. Maize Rage. All of these student section names are synonymous with energy and enthusiasm. Every school, no matter how big or small, has fans just like these who want to support their schools’ student athletes.
For the MHSAA Student Advisory Council's “Battle of the Fans,” we set out to find high school student sections that not only supported their schools, but did so in a creative manner. Fifteen council members and I judged the submitted videos on organization, leadership, creativity and noise.
As I watched, some cheers really stuck out. Saginaw Valley Lutheran High had a cheer that praised Jesus not only for its team, but also the opponent. Rockford took the “I Believe” cheer to another level, using roughly 50 bottles of baby powder to create a minute-long haze over the field while screaming "I believe that we will win!"
Not only has this competition been a huge success so far with nearly 20 entries, but it really hit home for me.
As a senior at Grand Blanc High School, I have waited four years to stand in the front row and lead our student section – with two of my best friends – for football and basketball games. For us, Friday nights at “The Frank,” our home football stadium, are some of the most fun times of the year.
As a student section, we valiantly attempted to create a fun atmosphere and support our fellow students. We did things like costume night over Halloween weekend to get our section going. Although things like this were way past fun, we were at these games to support our classmates and friends.
Throughout my senior year, the times I have had in the student section have created a bond with my fellow students unlike anything I have done before. These moments will last me a lifetime, and the camaraderie has helped me form friendships that will last forever.
After I was done judging all of the videos, it was so difficult for me to pick just five. I knew every single person, in every student section, was having a great time and creating wonderful memories. For that reason, I encourage every student to go out and cheer on your classmates. You will have more fun than you could ever imagine. As one of my favorite quotes exclaims, "It isn't how many breaths you take, but how many moments take your breath away."
It could be the raucous atmosphere created after a triple-overtime playoff win, or a bond forged in the tension of a nail-biter against a cross-town rival. These moments and friendships in a student cheering section will be everlasting.
Bailey Truesdell, Grand Blanc senior
- Sport: Golf
- Non-sports activities: National Honor Society, DECA leadership program, Tutoring
- Favorite class: Student Store
- Must-see TV: "Entourage"
- One shining moment: My best sports moment was winning my first-ever high school golf tournament as a freshman.
- What’s next: After high school, I will be attending Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, to play golf and study business finance.
- My favorite part of game day is: … the thoughts that run through my mind all day prior to when I take to the course, mostly speculating as to how I will do, and visualizing my plan to succeed.
PHOTO courtesy of Bailey Truesdell (middle, in flannel shirt, with Grand Blanc's cheering section during a football game this fall).
Sophia Wagner ♦ Escanaba
Senior ♦ Gymnastics
In just her team’s second competition this season, Wagner set program records with a 9.8 on floor exercise and 37.380 all-around to finish first in both at the Escanaba Elks Invitational. The floor exercise record topped the previous Escanaba-best 9.7 scored by current senior teammate Sophie Lehto last season.
Escanaba’s gymnastics program has made major statewide strides over the last half-decade, and Wagner reached the Finals podium last season tying for fifth on Division 2 balance beam with a score of 9.025 while also tying for 22nd on vault. The week before, Wagner helped lead Escanaba to a sixth-place Regional finish against a field that included the last two Finals team champions. She also played tennis and was part of the No. 3 doubles runner-up as Escanaba shared the Upper Peninsula Division 1 team title this fall, and she finished second in pole vault and ran on the seventh-place 400-meter relay in the spring as Escanaba finished third at the UPD1 Girls Track & Field Finals.
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Past 2023-24 Honorees
Dec. 1: Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24: Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17: Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10: Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3: Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27: Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20: Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13: Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5: Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29: MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22: Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15: Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8: Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1: Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report
(Photos courtesy of Victory Video and Photography.)