Buffalo Grove High School cheerleading coach Jeff Siegel knows how to bring home a victory.
For the last eight years, since the Illinois High School Association began mounting a state series in competitive cheerleading, Siegel's teams have finished in the top five, including Elk Grove's coed squad winning state the first five years.
It's taken Siegel three years, but his Buffalo Grove team finally landed on top. They won the state championship on Saturday in Bloomington, edging Barrington, which came in second and Grant High School in Fox Lake, which placed third.
“They just won the Super Bowl,” Siegel said. “We're that excited. But the kids wanted it. They came out on fire.”
The state tournament however, saw its share of dramatics. A member of the Conant team from Hoffman Estates, which competed in the large school division, fell during one of their stunts and had to be carried off in a stretcher.
Freshman flyer, Kylie Cosentino of Elk Grove Village, suffered a concussion from the fall, said her coach, Dana Muszynksi.
Judges stopped the routine and gave the squad a half hour to regroup. They brought in alternate, Anna Marie Lauria, a junior from Elk Grove Village, who jumped right in and helped the team nail their routine.
It was good enough to give the Cougars a third place finish in the preliminaries and earned them a berth to the finals, where they wound up third overall.
“We did it for Kylie,” Muszynski said. “She was standing on the sidelines with us and the girls all wanted to do it for her.”
Muszynski said they were thrilled with their third place finish. The Cougars were the state champs in 2010 and runners up in 2011, and have finished in the top five since she took over the program.
“Going into it, all we wanted to do was make it far enough to cheer on the second day (at finals),” Muszynski said. “Now we can say we were the only team to perform three times at state.”
Conant finished behind Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox and Marist High School in Chicago. Other suburban top 10 finishers included Lake Zurich in eighth place, St. Charles East in ninth and Nequa Valley High School in 10th place.
The top suburban schools in the medium division were from Lake County. Wauconda placed fourth, ahead of Antioch, which finished fifth. Both were top 10 finishers last year, while Grayslake Central High School came in sixth.
Columbia won the medium division, followed by Lemont High School in second and Oak Forest, which placed third.
Suburban schools made up the majority of the top 10 coed teams in the state, with Downers Grove South in sixth, Glenbard West in seventh, South Elgin in eighth and Mundelein High School in 10th.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.