NAPPANEE — Two local cheer squads are competing in state contests today at Southport High School in Indianapolis and members of each squad credit hard work, determination and a tight-knit squad for getting them there.
In Nappanee’s “Panther Country” the sole senior cheerleader on the squad, captain Ashley Stump, took time out from practice to share that on a scale of one to 10 her confidence level was “Ten. We’ve endured so much with this team; we’ve been through a lot. It’s been a great experience going to state the last three years but it means something more as this is the last time for me so we’re going to win.”
Stump said her freshman and sophomore years NorthWood ranked second place and last year due to a scoring glitch they finished “somewhere in the top five.”
The juniors on the squad are also excited. Kristin Norville said, “It means a lot. I feel like the team is closer than every this year.”
Described by her coach as “the competitive one,” Maddie Angle said she’s been on different teams during her high school career but feels there is something special about this one — something that will mean a win. “I’ve been real competitive all my life and I feel this is something really achievable,” she said.
But that confidence is not restricted to the upperclassmen. Freshman cheerleader Hannah Simon also feels pretty good about the squad’s chances. “It’s so exciting. It’s hard to fathom how close we are and I feel we can win. Everything we’ve worked hard on for four months — all that hard work is paying off and it will be great for our senior,” she said.
The Panther squad is coached by head coach Lisa Norville and assistant coach Ashlea Romano. Coach Norville agreed that the squad “is family. I can’t say enough about them. They are the hardest working, most dedicated girls in all my years of coaching. Heart. That’s how I’d describe them — they have heart.”