The Illinois High School Association Cheerleading State Finals turn 10 this year, as the event returns to U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington on Friday and Saturday, February 6-7. The inaugural state finals were conducted at Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena while the Coliseum was still under construction in 2006, but the Coliseum has remained the event’s home for the remainder of the decade.
Every performance this weekend will be streamed live on the NFHS Network via www.IHSA.tv with a subscription or Comcast/Xfinity authentication, while recaps from Saturday’s finals will also be rebroadcast on Comcast Sports Net Chicago on February 14 and 28 (click for times/channel info).
Breese Central edged Sesser-Valier at the state finals a year ago to win its first cheerleading state title, but the Red Devils were able to reverse that result at Sectionals this season, as Sesser-Valier topped Breese Central by less than a point. With a combined 11 Top 10 state final finishes between the two schools, expect both to factor into this year’s state standings. Sectional champ Rockridge, fifth a year ago, will try for its sixth Top 10 finish this year and second trophy after placing second in 2013. Much of Wilmington’s team was on the sidelines when the school’s football team won the Class 3A state championship in dramatic fashion back in November, and now the Wildcats will vie for their own state title, punctuating a sixth straight state final berth with the school’s first Sectional crown. Oakwood (6th in 2014) captured its first-ever Sectional championship this season, while Roxana won its Sectional for the second time in three years to qualify for state for the third straight year, and third overall. Somonuak (3rd) and Eureka (4th) both return after Top 5 finishes a year ago, while Lexington is the lone 10-time state final qualifier in the class and St. Edward the lone first-time qualifier.
Although the cheerleading state tournament is just 10 years old, defending state champ and 2015 Sectional winner Lemont may need a separate trophy case at the high school dedicated solely to its squad. Amazingly, Lemont has won a trophy in each of the 10 state meets, including four state titles. Speaking of tradition, four other teams in the class have also qualified for state in all 10 seasons thus far, including Tinley Park (state champs in 2006 & 2007), Triad (2005 state champ), Oak Forest (4 trophies) and Bloomington, the latter of whom won its Sectional this season. Lincoln-Way West’s first Sectional title this year came in impression fashion, as the Warriors bested Tinley Park, Oak Forest and Lemont to achieve it. Benet hasn’t made the state field since the inaugural season in 2006, but punctuated its return with a Sectional victory. Antioch missed the state field a year ago, but came back strong with a Sectional title this season and hopes to add to a resume that includes a pair of runner-up finishes (2005, 2010). As if the field couldn’t get any deeper, the final Sectional champ is Columbia, who earned four consecutive state titles from 2009 through 2012 (2009-2011 in Small Class, 2012 in Medium Class), while 2014 runner-up Morris also returns.
The Large Class has been defined by razor thin margins separating the top teams in the standings throughout the years, which made Lincoln Way East’s 2.06 point margin of victory, the second largest ever by a Large Class champ, that much more impressive in 2014. The Griffins will be back, but plenty of perennial powers return, starting with Lockport, who bested Lincoln-Way East in Sectional action last week. The Porters won trophies in six of the first seven years of the state cheer competition, including state titles in 2007 and 2008. Sectional champion Neuqua Valley finished as the runner-up a year ago and will look to become the first school to win IHSA Dance and Cheer state titles in the same season after its dance team claimed the Class 3A crown last week. Crystal Lake Central qualified for Saturday’s finals for the first time in school history last year and finished fifth in the Medium Class. The move up to the Large Class is off to a good start, as the Tigers won their first Sectional title in school history this season. Sectional champion Lake Zurich is a 10-time state qualifier (just like Sandburg, Lincoln-Way East & Lockport) in search of its second state championship (2010), while Maine South hopes its first Sectional title leads to the first cheer trophy in school history.
Elk Grove Village owned the early days of the Coed Class, winning the state championship in each of the first five years it was contested. The Grenadiers will try to start a new title streak in 2015 with the momentum of a Sectional title entering the state meet. Jeff Siegal now leads the Buffalo Grove program after coaching Elk Grove Village to those aforementioned titles from 2006-2010. Siegal’s Sectional champion Buffalo Grove squad has postseason experience from winning state in 2012 and finishing second last season. Speaking of state experience, Conant was the talk of the tournament a year ago when the Cougars, a perennial contender and 2010 state champ in the Large Class, won the state championship in their first season competing in the Coed Class. Barrington has won three straight state final trophies, including placing second in 2011 and 2012, and finished second only to Buffalo Grove at Sectionals last week. Normal University captured its third Sectional title in four years this season and will now look for its third straight Top 10 finish. Stagg is qualifying for the state field for just the third time in its history and adds the exclamation point with its first-ever Sectional championship, while Belvidere North also enters on the heels of its first Sectional title, as the Blue Thunder try to qualify for Saturday’s finals for the third time in four years.
10th annual State Series
9th year at U.S. Cellular Coliseum
U.S. Cellular Coliseum (Bloomington)
Prelims - Finals
Friday, February 6
9:15 AM - Prelims of Small & Medium Classes
1:45 PM - Small/Medium finalists announced
4:15 PM - Prelims of Large & Coed Classes
8:00 PM - Large/Coed finalists announced
Saturday, February 7
11:00 AM - Finals of Small & Medium Classes
12:50 PM - Small Awards
1:10 PM - Medium Awards
3:00 PM - Finals of Large & Coed Classes
4:50 PM - Large Awards
5:10 PM - Coed Awards
All performances available LIVE on www.IHSA.tv
CSN Chicago Finals Recap Rebroadcast Schedule
State Final Gear
Friday Prelim Results
Saturday Final Results
$10 per day
No audio broadcasts currently scheduled for this event
HISTORY & RECORDS
2015 Sectional Results
Record Book & Past Champions