Grayslake Central High wins first state cheerleading title
Grayslake Central High School cheerleading coach Kelsey Pierotti listened closely as winners were named in the Medium Team Division at the IHSA Competitive Cheerleading finals Saturday.
Antioch was in third place; Oak Forest took second. First place? Grayslake Central.
Pierotti has coached for Grayslake Central for seven years. Although she had a good feeling about the team early on, she said she still took things one step at a time.
"I just could tell for months now that this was a really special team," she said. "We really focused on one competition at a time, one week at a time, just to get ourselves to the state tournament."
On Friday, the team advanced to the top 10, which left one more performance -- finals. Pierotti said that while the team was nervous and excited, they were also supportive of each other.
Pierotti said she was confident in the team's performance Saturday in Bloomington and that watching the routine on the floor was "very exciting."
"I was just so thankful that they got through it and they were proud of themselves," she said.
This year's routine focused on elite tumbling and stunt skills while also touching on some traditional cheerleading elements.
The goal was always to make it to the podium, Pierotti said. In 2018, Grayslake Central placed fifth, and fourth in 2007, Pierotti said.
Saturday's win meant a lot to Pierotti, the team and the Grayslake Central community, she said.
"Winning that state championship for the first time in our school history for cheerleading was exhilarating and surreal," she said. "I'm so glad that this team got to experience that."
Among other suburban high schools, Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire took third in the large division, Antioch High School took third in the Medium Division and Grant Community High School in Fox Lake took third in the coed division.