McALESTER — McAlester’s cheerleading squad finished 13th among 18 5A schools at Saturday’s Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association Cheerleading State Championship at Gallagher-Iba arena at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. The Lady Buffs scored 213 points, improving on last year’s score by three points.
The Lady Buffs also finished 10 spots higher than they did in 2012. This came despite what Lady Buffs coach Ashlee Shumway called “major changes” to their routine after Regionals on Sept. 21.
“I completely re-did the pyramid,” Shumway said Tuesday. “We did a brand new pyramid, and it hit really, really solid. I also added some more difficult tumbling skills to the very beginning of the routine, just for that ‘wow factor,’ and that made a big impression, and then adding some spins in our stunts. So I was proud, after having made all those big changes, that they still hit.
“We’re to the point where we’re getting the skills that we need to perform in the top four. It’s just going to be now about polishing.”
Shumway credited the team’s success in part to her three seniors: captain Sarah White, top girl Madison Taylor and base Taylor Burmeier. Those seniors set the tone and brought the underclassmen in line, Shumway said, and because many of the 2013-14 Lady Buffs competed at State last year, they came into it this year better equipped.
“We talk a lot about practicing to practice and practicing to perform,” Shumway said. “There’s a big difference in going out and doing that routine over and over and over in a gym when no one’s watching, and then going out in the Gallagher-Iba Arena, when you have thousands of eyes on you.”
Carl Albert won 5A for the 11th time since 1998, averaging 95.4 points from each judge. McAlester, by comparison, averaged 71 points.
Shumway said that while her Lady Buffs executed their stunts, they couldn’t quite match Carl Albert’s energy.