| The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Cheerleading State Finals enter their second decade in 2016, as the eleventh edition of the event returns to U.S. Cellular Coliseum, hosting for the tenth time, in Bloomington on Friday and Saturday, February 5-6. A total of 100 schools will perform in Friday's prelims, with twenty-five qualifying in each of the four divisions: Small, Medium, Large, and Coed. The Top 10 teams in each division on Friday will return to perform again in Saturday’s finals.
Every performance this weekend will be streamed live on the NFHS Network via www.IHSA.tv with a subscription, while recaps from Saturday’s finals will also be rebroadcast on Comcast Sports Net Chicago on numerous dates beginning February 14 (click for times/channel info).
First-time Qualifiers: 2, Beecher; IC Catholic
11-Time Qualifiers: 0
Sectional Champions: Reed-Custer (88.13); Paris (85.93); Somonauk (85.43); Breese Central (84.17); Greenville (82.27)
On Friday, the Small Division will kick off with first-time qualifier Beecher and close with two-time defending state champ and 2016 Sectional champ Breese Central. The Bobcats won’t have much time for nerves before their 9:15 a.m. performance, while Breese Central tries for its fourth straight trophy and fifth consecutive Top 5 finish. In between Beecher and Breese, the field will feature plenty of talent, including a Sectional champion Paris squad with five Top 10 finishes in school history and one trophy (2nd in 2009). Reed-Custer followed last year’s fifth-place state final finish with the top Sectional score in the state in their division last week, while fellow Sectional winner Somonauk has placed third in the state twice since 2011. With back-to-back Top 6 places under its belt, Oakwood (6th in 2014, 4th in 2015) will be another program to keep an eye on. Greenville rounded out this season’s Sectional champs, and will be joined at state by Chester and Hinckley-Big Rock, who are both making their first trips to the state finals since qualifying for the inaugural event in 2006.
First-time Qualifiers: 0
11-Time Qualifiers: 5, Bloomington; Lemont; Oak Forest; Tinley Park; Triad
Sectional Champions: Oak Forest (93.23); Crystal Lake Central (90.83); Highland (89.40); Wauconda (87.43); Rich South (86.60)
The Whip-Purs of Hampshire (what's a Whip-Pur? Click here to find out) took an enormous step as a program last season, winning state just one year after its first-ever top 10 state final finish (9th in 2014). Grayslake Central, last year’s ninth-place finisher, would love to repeat that feat, but a bevy of talented squads stand in the way. That list starts with perennial Medium Division powers Lemont (4), Tinley Park (2), and Triad (1), who have a combined seven state titles and all placed in the Top 10 last year. Rich South, whose lone Top 10 finish was as the runner-up in 2009, enters with the momentum of a Sectional crown, as does Crystal Lake Central, who drops to the Medium Division after placing fifth in the Large Division in 2015. Always consistent Highland held off Waterloo and four-time state champ Columbia in Sectional action last week, as the Bulldogs vie for their first state title to go along with a pair of third-place finishes and nine Top 10 finishes. Meanwhile, Oak Forest hopes to hoist its first state title in 2016 after the 11-time qualifiers have recorded nine Top 10 finishes and won three trophies previously.
First-time Qualifiers: 0
11-Time Qualifiers: 3, Lake Zurich; Lockport; Sandburg
Sectional Champions: Lockport (93.20); Providence Catholic (92.70); Huntley (91.17); Lake Zurich (91.10); Prospect (90.07)
With two-time defending state champion Lincoln-Way East not qualifying for the Large Division state finals this season, the door is now open for a new champ for the first time since 2013. The question now becomes whether it will be a past state champion like Lockport (2007 and 2008, 2015 runner-up), Providence Catholic (2013) or Lake Zurich (2011), all Sectional champions last week, or will a new program rise to the top of the standings? Huntley and Prospect certainly fit the bill for the latter, as both won Sectional championships last week, but have yet to record a Top 10 state final finish in their program history. Neuqua Valley remains a team to watch, as the Wildcats have finished in the Top 10 in each of the past four seasons, including second in 2014 and third in 2015, respectively. Lincoln-Way North, who placed fourth a year ago, will be a sentimental favorite in the school’s final state meet before closing (click here for more), while Sandburg has never finished outside the Top 10 in the history of the tournament, including state crowns in 2009 and 2012.
First-time Qualifiers: 1, Normal Community
11-Time Qualifiers: 3, Conant; Elk Grove Village; Lake Park
Sectional Champions: Buffalo Grove (92.37); Conant (91.47); Belvidere North (90.97); Normal University (89.83); Hinsdale South (88.40)
The Coed Division has become a more wide open affair since Elk Grove Village relinquished its stranglehold on the state title after winning the crown every year from 2006 to 2010. Four different schools have won state titles in the past five years, with defending champ Buffalo Grove being the only school to win two in that timeframe (2013). Buffalo Grove scored another Sectional title last week, as did Conant, who placed second a year ago after winning state in 2014. Sectional winner Belvidere North enters the weekend in search of a third consecutive Top 10 finish, while fellow Sectional champion Hinsdale South hopes to qualify for Saturday's finals for the first time in program history. Barrington has placed second, third and fourth two times each, and hopes to hoist hardware again in 2016 after placing fourth last year. Stagg had never reached the Saturday finals until a year ago, but stage wasn't too big for the Chargers, who went on to place third. The Coed Division will have plenty of local flair on the mat, as host city fans will be treated to performances by Sectional champ Normal UHIGH, who has three straight Top 10 finishes, as well as Normal Community West and first-time qualifier Normal Community.
11th annual State Series
10th year at U.S. Cellular Coliseum
U.S. Cellular Coliseum (Bloomington)
Hosted by Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau & BN Sports Commission
Prelims - Finals
Friday, February 5
9:15 AM - Prelims of Small & Medium Classes
1:45 PM - Small/Medium finalists announced
3:30 PM - Prelims of Large & Coed Classes
8:00 PM - Large/Coed finalists announced
Saturday, February 6
11:00 AM - Finals of Small & Medium Classes
12:50 PM - Small Awards
1:15 PM - Medium Awards
3:00 PM - Finals of Large & Coed Classes
4:55 PM - Large Awards
5:20 PM - Coed Awards
$10 per day
All performances available LIVE on www.IHSA.tv
CSN Chicago Finals Recap Rebroadcast Schedule
Friday Prelim Results
Saturday Final Results
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OFFICIAL STATE FINAL
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HISTORY & RECORDS
2016 Sectional Results
Record Book & Past Champions