The Juneau Huskies cheer team poses for a photo on Saturday in Palmer after competing in this year’s Rally in the Valley Cheer competition. The team took first place in the game time and half time divisions, as well as earned the title of grand champion for garnering the highest score within the competition. (Courtesy Photo / Stephany Day)

The Juneau Huskies cheer team poses for a photo on Saturday in Palmer after competing in this year’s Rally in the Valley Cheer competition. The team took first place in the game time and half time divisions, as well as earned the title of grand champion for garnering the highest score within the competition. (Courtesy Photo / Stephany Day)

Juneau cheer team leads the way at Rally in the Valley

Team takes top spot among other honors.

The Juneau Huskies Cheer Team is now deserving of some cheering-on of their own after winning big this weekend at the Rally in the Valley Cheer competition, which coach Stephany Day said they more than earned with their dedicated hard work.

“The coaching staff of myself, Carlene Nore, and Vanessa Aube couldn’t be more proud of this team,” Day said in an email. “They have been practicing and training hard over the last 4 months and really came together as a team to earn these championships.”

On Friday, the Juneau Huskies Cheer Team traveled to Anchorage to support the Juneau Huskies Football team in the state championship game, and while up there the team also participated in a competition of their own. The following Saturday morning at 10 a.m. the team drove to Palmer for the Rally in the Valley Cheer competition put on each year by Colony High School.

The competition is a chance for high school football cheer leading teams to compete with one another at the end of the season. There were three group categories to compete in as well as a solo division. This year, the Huskies Cheer Team entered into all four categories of competition. Senior Kristie Kulbeth took second place in the solo division. Kulbeth is one of five seniors departing the team after this year along with Stig Cunningham, Angellina Hammons, Sandrenia Nickel-Bean and Reilley Halverson. Day said that in addition to having seasoned seniors on the team, their main secret to success has been high expectations and holding each other accountable.

“I think all three of the coaches have high expectations of our cheerleaders and we keep things disciplined for them and focused,” Day said. “We have practices four days a week for three hours at a time, it’s a huge time commitment, so I think putting in that work and just always holding each other and ourselves accountable while working together as a team is really what helped us persevere and helped us accomplish our goals.”

Additionally, the team had a group of five cheerleaders enter the group stunting division, Ryan Shattuck, Yela Cristobal, Mila Griffin, Katelyn Kohuth and Tenlee Roemer. The team of five took first place in this small group stunt division. The Juneau Huskies cheerleaders also took first place in the game time division and first place in the halftime division. Day said the team’s winnings and standings also earned them grand champion status as they had the highest score of any team in the competition.

“Game time is essentially showcasing what we would do at a typical football game but kind of condensing it, so at a football game we do cheers at maybe a timeout where we try to incorporate some more moves or stunts to try and get the crowd engaged in our cheer and cheer along with us,” Day said. “The half time division is what you would see in a cheer team’s performance at a half-time which usually consists of a cheer and then choreography done to music.”

Day said that while the competition starts early and lasts through most of the day, she along with the coaches were proud of the team’s ability to remain patient for their turn while also staying focused on performances. Day also said that they’re most thankful to the community of Juneau for the overwhelming support which affords them the opportunity to participate in these types of events.

“We would love to just thank the community of Juneau and especially our business sponsors, we got a tremendous amount of support from Juneau local businesses and we couldn’t have done it without that, it’s very expensive to take our team to travel and stay overnight in Anchorage and up in Palmer to be able to execute,” Day said. “These other teams just get to drive in from Anchorage for the day to participate and that’s not the case for us, we have to get airline tickets, housing and rental cars and it all adds up and it’s very expensive, so there’s no way we could have done this without the support of our community and our local businesses, so we just really appreciate that and we thank the community of Juneau for that.”

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

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