A mix of energy and nerves covers the cheer mat at Harford Community College (HCC) on Nov. 11 as, for the first time in school history, the Patriot cheerleaders compete at the Maryland State Finals. In fact, no Montgomery County school has ever earned a spot at states prior to this year– the Patriots were joined by Quince Orchard as the first two teams from MCPS to do so.
Before states, however, the Patriots had a long road ahead. The patriots placed second at counties -behind only Damascus- earning a spot at the state semi-finals, which took place on Nov. 4, at HCC. The location of the semis, being over an hour and a half away, caused the Patriots’ student section to be much smaller than at counties. “I made it to the competition at Blair, but the long-distance drive to states was a bit too far for me,” junior Noelly Miller said.
At the state semis, Wootton and Quince Orchard electrified the stadium in their respective performances and were the only teams to advance to the finals from MCPS. The girls were ecstatic when they were informed by the judges that they would be returning to HCC a week later to compete in the state finals. With a week to practice before the big dance, the Patriots looked to perfect their state’s routine.
On the Friday before the state finals, the entire team and coaching staff traveled to Bel Air and spent the night in a hotel close to the community college. As the time before the Patriots last performance of the season and the senior’s last performance dwindled, the team began to focus with emotions running high.
When the judge called Wootton high school, the team took formation, hoping to finish their routine while minimizing mistakes. For the next couple minutes, bodies flew and flipped in the air as fans from across Maryland supported the girls. After an electrifying performance, the team froze for a second prior to jumping into each other’s arms. “I’m really going to miss the seniors next year; I’m glad my last season with them was so memorable,” freshmen Emma Hoffman said.
After all competing teams performed, teams sat huddled close awaiting the results. After an historical season, the Patriots earned the ninth highest score in the state. Liganore finished first, winning the state finals. “We’ll take it,” tweeted the Patriots. Although they didn’t win states, the Patriots made history this season, becoming the first MCPS team to advance to the state semis and the state finals.