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COMPETITIVE CHEER: Rochester finishes unbeaten in winning 16th state title

| March 5, 2016 | Comments (0)

Lake Orion sixth, Troy Athens eighth in D-1

BY DAN STICKRADT

CORRESPONDENT

dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

Twitter: @LocalSportsFans

GRAND RAPIDS — One of the most storied programs in state history put together one of the most memorable seasons in state history — and it ended with a state title.

Top-ranked Rochester returned to the top of the pyramid Friday night at the DeltaPlex in Grand Rapids, collecting its first state title since 2009 with a state-best 792.40 points.

It marked Rochester’s 13th MHSAA state title since the state first started sanctioning the sport in 1994 and 16th overall including the old Michigan Cheerleading Coaches Association tournaments. Since the MHSAA first began hosting a state tournament, Rochester has qualified for the state finals in 21 of 23 seasons and have made the cut in 33 of 35 seasons overall under Wood.

“It feels great to be back on top,” said Susan Wood, Rochester’s head coach since 1982-83. “We’ve had a lot of talented teams in recent years, but we haven’t won since 2009. I think the difference is that this team could handle the pressure. Some of the other recent teams we’ve had couldn’t handle the pressure of the regional and state finals. It’s not that they weren’t talented. But they couldn’t handle the pressure. This team handled it well all season.”

Rochester ventured through the 2015-16 season unbeaten, winning 14 straight competitions. The Falcons were second at the state finals last season (one of four MHSAA state runner-up seasons) which turned out to be their last defeat.

“We’ve gone undefeated before, but it’s a lot tougher nowadays,” said Wood. “There are so many good teams today. Years ago, the depth of teams wasn’t as deep.”

Grandville finished second with 790.66 points in one of the most closely-contested finals in history. Sterling Heights Stevenson claimed third (788.10), while East Kentwood (784.84), Southgate Anderson (783.40), Lake Orion (781.36), Hudsonville (780.78) and Troy Athens (777.44) rounded out the eight-school field.

Rochester led Grandville 237.90 to 237.70 after the first round and again finished just ahead of Grandville in Round II, 232.50 to 232.46.

In Round III, Rochester scored 322.00 points to win the round and seal the deal, with Stevenson (321.20) and Grandville (320.50) just behind.

“We were so tight with Grandville and everybody kept sticking their rounds. There weren’t any major falls, so it was a great state final,” added Wood. “We werent sure if we would be first or second. The top teams were all really good in Round III. As it turned out, only a couple of points separated the top three in Round III. We were just good enough — barely.”

MHSAA DIVISION 1 STATE FINALS

(March 4, DeltaPlex, Grand Rapids)

TEAM SCORES — 1. Rochester, 792.40; 2. Grandville, 790.66; 3. Sterling Heights Stevenson, 788.10; 4. East Kentwood, 784.84; 5. Southgate Anderson, 783.40; 6. Lake Orion, 781.36; 7. Hudsonville, 780.78; 8. Troy Athens, 777.44.

ROUND I — 1. Rochester, 237.90; 2. Grandville, 237.70; 3. East Kentwood, 237.50; 4. Southgate Anderson, 235.80; 5. Lake Orion, 235.50; 6. Sterling Heights Stevenson, 235.30; 7. Hudsonville, 234.80; 8. Troy Athens, 233.90.

ROUND II — 1. Rochester, 232.50; 2. Grandville, 232.46; 3. (tie) Sterling Heights Stevenson, 231.60; Southgate Anderson, 231.60; 5. East Kentwood, 231.54; 6. Lake Orion, 229.36; 7. Hudsonville, 228.28; 8. Troy Athens, 227.54.

ROUND III — 1. Rochester, 322.00; 2. Sterling Heights Stevenson, 321.20; 3. Grandville, 320.50; 4. Hudsonville, 317.70; 5. Lake Orion, 316.50; 6. (tie) Troy Athens, 316.00; Southgate Anderson, 316.00; 8. East Kentwood, 315.80.

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Category: Featured Articles, High School, High School (M-Z), Lake Orion, Prep Wraps, Rochester, Troy Athens

About Dan Stickradt: DAN STICKRADT | SENIOR EDITOR dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com View author profile.

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