COOS BAY — Marshfield’s cheer team has continued to improve each year as it gets more experience as a coed squad.
The Pirates enter the state championships excited to see how their hard work translates in the team competition. The event was moved from this weekend to next because of an expected winter storm in Portland.
“I’m really excited for them,” coach Theresa Walsh said. “Their main focus this year has been teamwork and how to work really cohesively and trust each other.”
In a coed team, that can be especially important, and it has shown, Walsh said.
“They have brought a new level of teamwork,” she said.
Marshfield has had an elite stunt team place well during two of the team’s competitions and the entire team has improved as well.
“The entire team has been working on improving their tumbling skills,” Walsh said.
In the past, the Pirates have been known for their stunts. This year, the biggest jumps in scoring have come in their jumping techniques and tumbling.
The Pirates placed first in the coed division at Sheridan, second at South Albany and fourth at Sheldon.
“We’ve put a lot of time into improving,” said Amy Annaloro, the team’s dance captain.
That’s also true in the stunts, where the Pirates have worked to improve their point potential.
“And they’re hitting them,” Annaloro said.
“You can have a (high-point) stunt, but if you don’t hit it, it doesn’t matter,” said Cassandra Casey, the team’s overall co-captain with Hannah Mork.
Marshfield competes in the coed large division because the Pirates have four boys on the competition team.
That has helped with the team’s performance.
“I think we’ve done better than we did before,” said Jonathan Mullins, the team’s stunts captain.
It’s shown in the competitions.
“Our scores rise each competition,” Casey said.
In addition to their improved skills, the Pirates have a wealth of experience.
Casey is a fourth-year team member, Mullins has been with the team all three years it has competed as a coed group and Annaloro is in her second year with the squad, with nearly every other member having at least her experience level.
That helps in competitions.
“It’s good,” Casey said. “A lot of the kids don’t have the nerves anymore.”
That’s particularly important at state, with the cheer team competing in the cavernous Memorial Coliseum in front of a big audience.
Marshfield has a big group of seniors, but the future remains bright, Walsh said.
She noted that the team’s junior program of sixth, seventh and eighth graders, also has been succeeding in competitions.
“The program will just keep continuing to grow,” Walsh said.
As for the Pirates, Walsh expects good things this week.
“They are up for (the challenge),” she said. “They are working really hard. We’ve had to do some rearranging. They have taken each change and worked through it.”
Marshfield still has the challenge of competing in the ultra-tough coed large division, which includes several top Class 6A and Class 5A programs.
The Pirates don’t need to get a trophy to have a successful weekend.
“Coach always says you’re not competing against the other teams, you’re competing against yourself and the score sheet,” Casey said. “You want to score higher than you did before.”
Marshfield will be successful, she said, “if we try our hardest and leave it all on the mat.”
Marshfield’s squad includes seniors Annaloro, Casey, Mullins, Anastasia Marca, Jillian Black, Jorney Baldwin, Ryan Graham and Yuet Ning “Callie” Chung; juniors Mork, Abygail Chavez, Andrew Sheerin, Conner Kholer and Grace Roderick; sophomores Alexis Rosevear, Heather Grant, Katrina Hampton and Mykalean Lawrence; and freshmen Bryton Brooks and Savaylla McCowin.
Marshfield competes in the afternoon session next Saturday, Feb. 16. The session, which starts just before 2 p.m., includes all the Class 6A girls teams as well as all the coed teams. There are a total of 12 teams in the coed large division. Marshfield and Umatilla are the only two not in Class 5A or Class 6A.
The Pirates are scheduled to compete at 5:30 p.m.
Admission for the session is $14.50 for adults and $9 for students.