The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears and Thunder Mountain Falcons cheer teams pose with their champion and runner-up trophies on Tuesday at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears and Thunder Mountain Falcons cheer teams pose with their champion and runner-up trophies on Tuesday at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas wins fourth state cheer title in a row

Thunder Mountain Falcons earn highest finish with second

Yes it was a competition, yes it was for bragging rights across Alaska, but no, there was zero animosity among the top two cheer teams in the state as the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears won their fourth large-division state title in a row on Tuesday at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, and the Thunder Mountain High School Falcons placed second.

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

“This means so much for us,” JDHS senior Ryan Shattuck said. “The seniors were really hoping for a four-peat this year. We’ve been working really hard. We went to nationals, regions and just showed how much we love to cheer as a team, and we are just so happy we could pull out our last win. I don’t think people understand how much work we put in. I mean, at home, so many people were asking us where we’re going to state or not because our basketball teams didn’t make it, sadly, and we just picked our heads up and told them ‘yes we are.’”

For Thunder Mountain it was their highest placing at state and the last time a Falcons team will fly, stunt and tumble this far north. The Ketchikan Kings placed third, making the state event a Southeast show-out.

“It means everything,” TMHS coach Stephany Day said before breaking into sobs.

After a long pause she said, “We’re going out with a bang…”

The Thunder Mountain High School cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Thunder Mountain High School cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

Trying to compose herself, Day spoke of the hard work and discipline her team showed.

“Countless hours in the gym,” she said. “Many times not hitting stunts you know, falling to the ground…the mental energy that they put in, the physical energy that they put into this…it takes everything. This really means everything to us because our school is closing…and this is the end for them, for the Falcons. We’re sad to see it go, but we’re going to be OK. We’re going to move on. The support here is, well, the top three cheer teams in the state are in Southeast Alaska, that is so cool. And to be a part of that is so cool.”

Shattuck and JDHS classmate Mila Griffin were selected to the All-State Tournament Cheer team.

“I honestly wasn’t really expecting it, but I work really hard and my team really supports me in practice and out of practice,” Griffin said. “So I couldn’t have done it without my team and I’m really thankful to have them here with me. And I’m glad I could support them back throughout the whole four years. I think this year was really special to me because we all get along really well.”

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

Both JDHS and TMHS cheered for each other and, in the spirit of this sport, for all the opponents that took to the floor.

“We love Thunder Mountain,” Griffin said. “It feels really good because we are not harsh on each other or anything but we are still good competition for each other but also really good friends with each other and support each team.”

TMHS senior Katelyn Kohuth, also an All-State Cheer selection, said that honor and the team runner-up trophy, “Means the absolute world to me. I’m a senior, I’m graduating. I was really hoping for a good end to my season and that happened. Let’s go Juneau!”

Overcome with emotion TMHS senior Rylynn Martin said, “Oh my gosh this season has been very good. This is very different from last year and I’m just really proud of this team and I can’t believe this is our final season for our Falcons…I’m going to cry.”

The state cheer competition is similar to a game situation in two segments.

In the first half the cheer teams are judged on a sideline cheer, then take to the floor as if it were a basketball game timeout, then return to the sideline for three short cheers for offense, defense and a free throw. This portion accounts for 60% of their total score.

The second segment is their halftime routine which includes a cheer and a music routine with stunts and tumbling. JDHS has become known for their work on the floor routines.

“Very, very exciting,” JDHS coach Carlene Nore said. “It was very nice. Throughout this season we had goals set on regions and state, we also went to nationals so it has been an ongoing adjustment as we go, but great teams like Thunder Mountain and Ketchikan definitely push us to do our very best. We knew coming in here it was open to anybody so I am so thankful that we have this great competition and we can showcase our skills throughout the season.”

The Thunder Mountain High School cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Thunder Mountain High School cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Division I all-state tournament team included JD’s Shattuck and Griffin, TM’s Kohuth, KTN’s Hope Call and Linnea Loretan, Soldotna’s Sonia Montague, Wasilla’s Jordan Wilken, Colony’s Benson Tedd, Eagle River’s Madison Arreola, Lathrop’s Nariah Jackson, Chugiak’s Ariana Mercado and Bartlett’s Romey Vidal.

In the small school division the Kenai Cardinals were champions with the Bethel Warriors runner-up and the Barrow Whalers third.

The Division II all-state tournament team are Mt. Edgecumbe’s Aurora Rochefort, Seward’s Lola Swanson, Houston’s April Spencer, Grace’s Liz Blomfield, Hutchison’s Piper Burkeo, Homer’s Ellen Barrett, Barrow’s Nikyla Gueco, Kenai’s Sarah Baisden, Su Valley’s Violet Cole, Bethel’s Jordan Klejka, Cordova’s Morgan Saiget and Nome’s Madison McClaren.

Last season Shattuck and Griffin and JDHS junior Arely Vera Garcia earned basketball Sideline Cheer Leader of the Game honors at the state tournament. Cheerleaders supporting basketball teams during the tournament are selected.

The 2020 cheerleading championships were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Ketchikan won in 2019 with JDHS second.

In 2018 JDHS were the Coed Division champs and Grand Champions, in 2017 Coed champs, 2014 Time Out Cheer and Time Out Dance champs, 2013 Time Out Cheer and Coed champs, 2012 Time Out Cheer and Coed champs, 2010 Coed Medium school champs, 2007 Mascot winner and in 2006 Coed Medium champs.

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Thunder Mountain High School cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Thunder Mountain High School cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Thunder Mountain High School cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Thunder Mountain High School cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Thunder Mountain High School cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Thunder Mountain High School cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Thunder Mountain High School cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

The Thunder Mountain High School cheer team at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

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