By Mark Jurgena
This past weekend the Collinsville High School competitive cheer squad traveled to the state capital and the Bank of Springfield Center for the 37th annual Illinois Cheer Coaches Association (ICCA) state finals. They returned to the Metro East with a 7th place finish in the Large Varsity division.
They finished with a total score of 71.17 which placed them just ahead of Crete-Monee. Oak Park (Carl Sandburg) won the competition.
“Our team works extremely well together,” said CHS coach Lauren Thebeau. “They had a few challenges occur during their routine that they had to overcome. We could not be more proud of how they handled themselves. Our routine is a total of two minutes and fifty-three seconds. In less than three minutes we include several jumps, standing and running tumbling, dancing, and two pyramids.”
Edwardsville placed second at the state meet, while Belleville East placed just ahead of the Kahoks.
“Going to state was a dream come true for us and definitely something we looked forward to since our first competition when we qualified,” said senior captain Autumn Carr. “We have had many tears, sweat, bad practices, but also many smiles, good practices, and determination. I am, and always will be, proud to be a Kahok cheerleader.”
The team took part in three qualifying competitions at the end of last year in order to get to state. They met the qualifying standard at all three events they entered even though they only needed to qualify one time.
Their first competition was at Waterloo on November 20th where they got first place. After that, on December 11th, they got second place at Highland, and finally, they finished second at Edwardsville on December 19th.
These competitions are only a part of their season on the Collinsville cheer squad.
“Collinsville cheerleaders have one of the longest athletic seasons,” said Thebeau. “Tryouts are typically in early May. Practices begin shortly after. Our season consists of cheering sidelines for soccer, football, basketball. When our season is over this year at a minimum we will have competed in six competitions!”
Collinsville’s season is not over. They still have the SWC competition and the IHSA postseason as well. The IHSA sectional meet will be on January 29th at Edwardsville.
The squad is coached by Lauren Thebeau and Scout Mitchell. Both are in their fifth season with the squad and were Collinsville High cheerleaders themselves. Morgan Hoffman is in her second season as a volunteer assistant, she also was in cheer at CHS before graduating in 2020.
Thebeau was grateful for the help of so many in helping their season progress to this point.
“Thanks to Legacy Cheer and Gymnastics, our team has been able to incorporate several new tumbling passes and add onto our final pyramid,” she said. “It truly takes a village! We are thankful for our parents, coaching staff, and athletic director!”