The Panther cheer squad was the runner-up at the Class 3A All-Girl Cheer Stunt competition on March 12, and also placed sixth out of 14 in the All-Girl Cheer Non-Stunt competition.
It was the second straight year Powell’s 16-girl team finished second in Stunt. The Panthers scored 60.5 points.
Douglas took first with 69.3 and Rawlins was third with 54.3.
PHS head coach Vicki Walsh said the Panthers performed to their fullest potential at state.
“I knew the girls had it in them, I knew they could execute a good routine,” Walsh said. “They really went out there on that day and performed the best they have ever performed this year.”
Walsh said the Panthers found success despite getting a late start with a young team that was up against some strong competition.
“I felt like we were a little bit behind going into it,” Walsh said. “But they really stepped it up and worked hard and proved that, ‘Hey, we can do this.’”
Walsh thought the stunt competition was wide open going into the tournament and the Panthers, with only five returning cheerleaders, could have finished anywhere in the mix.
“When it’s a rebuilding year you don’t really know where you’re going to fall,” Walsh said.
An improved tumbling routine, which was a weakness in years past, reinvigorated the Panthers’ stunt and propelled them toward the top of the standings.
“Tumbling is a section on our judging sheets that we tend to get lower scores,” Walsh said. “(So) that was a real highlight, having that in our routine this year.”
Powell’s sixth-place finish in Non-Stunt was a marked improvement over last year’s 13th-place showing. The Panthers tied with Rocky Mountain with 59 points but the judges gave the tie-breaker to the Grizzlies.
“I was really happy with the outcome,” Walsh said. “I felt like we should have placed.”
But that’s the subjective nature of cheer.
“That’s the hard thing about it,” Walsh said. “It’s whatever the judges feel like you executed.”
Lovell won Non-Stunt with a score of 70.82, Star Valley came in second with 70 points and Douglas was third with 67.3.
Though the State Cheer competition lasts only one day, the Panthers stayed in Casper through Saturday to cheer on the PHS boys’ and girls’ basketball teams at the Class 3A State Basketball Tournament.
“It was a long week for them,” Walsh said. “They were pretty tired by Saturday, (but) it’s always fun to be down there.”
The 2013-14 Panther cheerleaders are: seniors: Mercedes Sanders, Mayson Easum, Skyler Bagnell, Aspen Smith; juniors: Brennah Lane, Jourdyn Haire, Kendra Newman, Devin Rausch, Nicole Birdsley; sophomores: Jocelyn Howard; and freshmen: Annie Price, Monse Morales, Mary Lynn, Ashtin Decker, Kayla Atkinson, Shania Pratt.
The assistant coaches are Cindy Jacobs and Emily Schwahn.