Corner Canyon cheer is state’s bestMar 04, 2021 11:37AM ● By Catherine Garrett
The Corner Canyon High School cheer team won the 6A state championship for the second consecutive year. (Photos courtesy Whitney Lunt)
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
The Corner Canyon High School cheer team successfully defended its 6A state championship Jan. 23 at Hillcrest High School, winning its fourth title in the eight years since the school has been opened.
“This year was extra special because it’s been such a hard year for everyone,” head coach Whitney Lunt said. “We had really tough competition at state this year so it was extra sweet to come out on top.”
Senior captain Madison Wankier said it was more difficult to defend this year due to competing against another nationally-ranked team in Bingham and other solid programs.
“We knew though that as long as we did our jobs there is nothing anyone could have done to stop us,” she said. “It was simple. All we needed to do was hit our routine and not worry about anyone else. In the end to see all the hard work from day one my freshman year to state my senior year was the best payday I have ever had. To come off the mat after having a perfect routine, I couldn’t help but cry and hug my team.”
Senior varsity competition captain Taylee Westra said it was rewarding to come out on top at state among the talent level that was there. “We knew that if we wanted to win, we had to work very hard in order to beat them,” she said. “Our focus for state was not to win; it was to hit. We wanted to perform the best we could and leave the mat with no regrets, and that is exactly what we did. We are so grateful that we were able to complete this season and defend our state title. Winning state really made all of our hard work pay off.”
The junior varsity squad lost five girls to quarantine just two days before the state meet and still won the 6A All Girl state championship. “They had to rework and change their entire routine the day before state so for them to be able to go out and hit a perfect routine at state and also win despite all of that was pretty incredible and amazing,” Lunt said.
Both teams also won the Region 4 title Jan. 9 at Westlake High School.
“Region and state were the only competitions we competed live this year so to win at both was extra special,” Lunt said.
Wankier, Westra, Lily Baird, Lauren Adams and Emilie Mecham were recognized on the All-State team while Baird also received Academic All-State honors.
The varsity and JV squads have both gone undefeated so far throughout the virtual season, taking the World Class Cheer Virtual Series events in November and January, along with the UCA Mountain West Regional and the USA Regional in December.
Senior Lily Baird said the team dealt with longer and harder practices because of a late start to the season due to COVID. “It would have been easy to just give up, but I was impressed to see every single one of my teammates rise to the challenge and push even harder,” she said. “Our coach Cameron told us seniors at the beginning of the year that we needed to be loyal to Corner Canyon cheer. That stuck with us throughout the season and helped us remain persistent. It was hard not having a normal season and a lot of unexpected things continued to happen through the year, but our team easily adapted and kept a positive attitude.”
Also on the CCHS varsity squad were Avery Adamson, Brooke Barney, Lizzie Boyle, Lauren Easton, Jessica Flores, Annabelle Harris, Zoe Kener, Brooklynne Nelson, Ella Nelson, Bethany Rooklidge, Olivia Sharp, Jade Winkel, Danika Wood and Kylie Wood.
The junior varsity team included Bailey Davis, Ella Duffin, Eloise Fletcher, Shannon Gillespie, Kiki Howard, Addy Jones, Abbie Keys, Ellie Keys, Kim Liljenquist, Ashley Macjevic, Jaylee Misner, Paige Rees, Christine Schmidt, Kennedy Scott, Macy Watts and Ellee Wilder.
Lunt was assisted on the coaching staff by Bria Bowthorpe and Kyler Schofield, tech coach Stephanie Sampson and choreographer Cameron Larsen.
Wankier said that this season looked extremely different than in years past with the off-season workouts and practices. “We learned the cheers this year off videos and had to video ourselves to pass off our tasks for the week as well as tumble and run to make sure we kept in shape,” she said. “Though COVID tried to mess with the season nonstop, we have been able to keep using every second we can to work on simple things like jumps and tumbling and cleaning up our routine which in the end helped us to be able to come out on top. So, thank you COVID!”
“Despite all of the challenges, it has been a pretty special season so far,” Lunt said. “And the love from our parents, school and community was overwhelming.”
The Chargers have a few more competitions this spring as tune-ups before the National High School Cheerleading Championships which are scheduled for late April.
At the school, they will host a Pre-Nationals Showcase March 20. Open gyms for tryouts for next season will be May 11 and 13 with the tryouts going from May 17 through 21.