McALESTER — Former Lady Buffalo cheerleading squads sometimes seemed nervous in the hours leading up to their turn at 5A regional cheerleading competitions, McAlester head cheer coach Ashlee Shumway said. But when she returned from this year’s coaches’ meeting at Regionals, her Lady Buffs were already pounding on their lockers and shouting out the cheers.
That energy and spirit carried over to the mat Saturday at Bixby, where the Lady Buffs finished in the top six among 11 5A schools, qualifying for Saturday’s State meet at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Metro Christian won 5A and Skiatook finished runner-up, but the other four teams didn’t receive individual places.
“This year, even though I have a fairly young team, they’ve been there, and they were pumped,” Shumway said Saturday.
“It was definitely a completely different feel, and they went out on fire”
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association instituted a new Regional system for 2013, reducing the number of Regional sites from as many as six statewide to just one East Regional. With more teams to beat and tougher competition, Shumway said she tried to choreograph a Regional routine the Lady Buffs could perform cleanly and consistently.
“We don’t want mistakes and we don’t want bobbles,” Shumway said.
“It seemed more like a Divisional because it was against half the teams that will be at State.”
That slightly more conservative philosophy worked for the Lady Buffs at Regionals, but now their attention turns to State. And with the competitive season ending Saturday, Shumway said her team will replace that philosophy with what she called a “do or die” mentality, upping the difficulty level wherever possible to maximize the number of possible points.
“We started off and finished extremely strong,” Shumway said. “There are a few things that we’re going to tweak before we go to State next week.