Chesterfield, Missouri (August 1, 2012) - The Marquette High School Varsity competition team secured their fourth consecutive Regional Championship in the Missouri High School Cheerleading Regionals on July 17 at St. Francis Borgia High School in Washington, Missouri. The win in the highly contested 5A Large Division assures the Marquette team will be a front-runner at the state competition in October in Columbia. The Marquette Junior Varsity team also took first in their division, their second straight win since the school started entering their JV last year. Both teams hit deduction free routines.

Lead by Head Coach, Abbey Gradle, and new Assistant Coach, Morgan Kapp, a Marquette grad and former MHS cheerleader, the 22 member Varsity team beat out local rivals Eureka, Parkway South, Oakville, Pattonville, and Francis Howell North for the title. The 5A Class runs deep at both the Regional and State level. Marquette has placed in the top three at state for the last five years, including a State Championship in 2008. The competition performance consists of a 3 minute routine packed with stunts, jumps, tumbling, dance, and crowd leading cheers.

Regionals week was packed with extra practices, changes, and some anxiousness. “At our dress rehearsal earlier in the week, we were all really nervous,” explained Senior Co-Captain Jordan Ehlert. “But when it came time to compete on Tuesday, not one girl on the team was in doubt. We all turned on our smiles and knew that all we could do was perform like the Marquette Cheerleaders we know we are!” she added.

The outstanding cheerleading tradition at Marquette stems from skills required to make the team. “The minimum skill level we expect from our girls helps us build a far more difficult routine. Each year we try to create a challenging routine that sets us apart from other teams,” explained Gradle. Having JV compete at the Regionals competition is a bonus, too, giving girls who hope to make the Varsity team a chance to experience all the preparation that goes into perfecting their routine.

But individual skills alone do not make a championship routine. “We could not have asked for a better group of girls this year,” said Senior Co-Captain Mary Riggio. “We performed our routine to the best of our abilities and hit it without a single deduction. We cannot wait to dominate at state as well!”

The MHS team practiced early in the morning 3-4 days a week all summer. Getting up at 6:00 a.m. during the summer is just one sacrifice the girls made, but it allows many of them to still hold a summer job. “Work ethic is a big part of our program, on the performance mat, at school, and in life,” said Gradle.

In the 5A division, Marquette will face other large schools from around the state, including their toughest competition from Kansas City area schools. State will be held October 20-21 at the Hearnes Center at Mizzou.

2012 Marquette Varsity Team Members: Mackenzie Anderson, Dani Ault, Torie Beckmann, Kennedy Cook, Danielle Dijkanovic, Jordan Ehlert, Allie Fosheim, Jules Holtzman, Taylor Howard, Natalie Komnick, Kayla Lee, Bree Mendes, Julia Meyer, Kelsey Owens, Mackenzie Puricelli, Andrea Randall, Mary Riggio, Ashley Schebaum, Sam Seidel, Eden Vander Zee, Paige White, and Madison Womack. Coached by: Abbey Gradle and Morgan Kapp.