By Ben Otte
The Red Lion Competitive Spirit squad tumbled, flipped and danced their way to a fifth place award in state level competition in January.
They didn’t arrive there without a fight, one that brought back memories of last year’s disappointing result.
Just a year ago, in 2013’s district level competition, the team was guaranteed a spot at the state competition. But then head coach Ashleigh Reinert was informed her team wouldn’t continue their season at states because of a scoring error that was made with another team in their bracket.
The error put the other team ahead, kicking Red Lion out of state tournament.
This year it was a similar story but on a bigger stage.
Flash forward one year to the first round of the 2014 PIAA state competition at the Giant Center in Hershey on Jan. 24. This time, scorers made a mistake, but it was in Red Lion’s favor. The team received three-point time deduction, just enough to kick them out of finals.
It was then when head coach Ashleigh Reinert realized though that the deduction that was made was not valid. “I just thought for a moment and realized the rule didn’t make any sense. I asked them to show the rule to me then.”
As it turns out, state competition has no time limit rule.
The three point addition put the team back in the running by guaranteeing a second trip to the championship round to Chocolate Town.
Red Lion entered the final championship round as the sixth squad behind New Oxford, Methacton, McDowell, Central Dauphin and St. Mary’s. None of the other previously qualified teams were eliminated from the final round when the scoring error was discovered.
The trip itself was an accomplishment for Reinert. “I wanted them to them to have a good performance the second time around. We were making history for just being there. I was going to be proud no matter what.”
Cheerleading powerhouse New Oxford took control of the competition right away locking in scores that pushed the squad ahead to first place with 79.53 points. Methacton was awarded second while McDowell got third place followed by Central Dauphin. Red Lion was awarded fifth place.
“It’s an accomplishment in itself to be ranked so high,” senior cheerleader Whitney Johnson said. “This team has been thrnough a lot and I’m just so happy to be a part of it all.”
The state rank the squad earned wasn’t their final achievement of the season. To close it off, the squad earned first place at the Reach the Beach National Championships in Ocean City, MD on Feb. 22.
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