Barrow cheerleaders nab third-straight state title
The Barrow High School cheerleaders went into the 2017 ASAA/First National Bank Cheerleading Championships on March 22 at the Alaska Airlines Center with a very simple goal — win their third straight state championship.
The Lady Whalers nailed down a three-peat with a stellar performance. The nine-member team finished as the highest-scoring squad in the Non-Building division and easily outdistanced Su-Valley and Palmer for the top spot.
"I think they did the most amazing job," said BHS cheerleading coach Theresa Knapp. "The exceeded their score from last year. They really went out and danced their hearts out. It was, I think, their best performance of the year, and it came at the right time."
During the competition, the Barrow cheerleaders were required to perform a team chant, as well as a dance routine in front of a large crowd. In both, Barrow left little doubt as to their talent.
"I think all of the hard work we put in during the season really paid off," said senior Janessa Vinas. "You never know what to expect (at the state meet) because all of the teams here are good. We just tried to come out and do our best."
Members of Barrow's 2016-17 cheer squad included Janessa-Jane Vinas, Gregory Kienholz, Tricia Solis-Gandia, Viveka Hernandez, Jayna Wolgemuth, Bea Ortilla, Kiana Ortilla, Madison Nicely, McJun Nobleza and Vernon Elavgak.
Barrow was one of several Alaska cheer teams to collect state titles at the event. In all, championships were awarded in four divisions, including the Small-School, Large-School and Co-ed divisions.
Lathrop High School repeated as the state's small-school champion by edging out five other teams for the top spot. Bethel Regional High School finished second. In the large school division, the Colony High School squad emerged as champions, while Juneau-Douglas took the co-ed title.
Colony was awarded the Grand Champion honors at the event. Barrow had claimed the overall top spot a year ago.