A Nebraska high school cheerleader competed alone after the rest of her squad quit. She said the support she received from other teams was “overwhelming”.
A high school grad from Nebraska competed alone in her state’s cheer competition earlier this month.
The rest of the team had left the cheerleading squad earlier in the week.
She said “it wasn’t a difficult decision” and she is “thrilled” with how her performance went.
A week and a half before the Nebraska State Cheer & Dance Championships, three freshman girls left Morrill High School’s cheerleading team for personal reasons, leaving only one girl on the team: senior Katrina Kohel.
She and her trainer April Ott told Insiders they were discussing what to do next. Would they make the five-hour trip to Grand Island, Nebraska, to see the three-day high school dance and cheer competition? Would you sit it out all the way?
Neither of these options worked for Kohl. Instead, after discussing it with her mother, she told Ott that she wanted to travel to the States to perform the routine she’d worked hard to perfect all season, even if it meant going to the mat alone.
“I kind of knew as soon as I found out that I was going to be the only one I still wanted to go out and cheer for, even if I was going to be myself,” Kohel said. “It wasn’t a difficult decision.”
Kohel told Insider that she’s been a cheerleader for her high school for four years and dreamed of being a cheerleader if her parents took her to high school football games when she was a little girl.
“I put a lot of time into cheering, it was just always a part of me, so I didn’t want to end on that note. I wanted to come out with a high,” Kohel said. “For that to be true, I didn’t want to just end it by watching the state. I wanted to compete.”
Kohel and Ott revised the routine and practiced it daily
Kohel and Ott then got to work repeating the routine originally choreographed for four people. They said they removed stunts from the performance and revised signs so they could be used by one person.
They practiced together for an hour every day before the competition, they said. Kohel said she wasn’t “nervous or scared” before the competition, but was “focused” on relearning and perfecting her routine.
“She was absolutely confident the whole week we trained. It was just 100% confidence, and she just had it,” Ott said.
Kohel’s appearance was scheduled for February 17. The night before, after a basketball game that Kohel was playing in, Ott and her Kohel family drove the five hours to Grand Island.
Ott’s daughter has cheered on the Morrill High School team with Kohel for the past three years and has comforted Kohel during the “frantic” experience.
“It felt like she was out there cheering with me,” Kohel said. “That helped put my mind at ease, just having her there and her support.”
Her grandparents were there too. Her parents and brother couldn’t join because her brother had a wrestling match and her parents coach his wrestling team. But thanks to a friend at Kohel’s competition, her parents were able to stream her performance on Facebook Live.
When Friday came around, Kohel said she was feeling good until she started watching the other teams’ routines, and her “coach was making me nervous because she was getting nervous.”
But when she got backstage, “I just took a deep breath and calmed down,” Kohel told Insider.
“When I got on the mat everything cleared up and my head went blank. I did the muscle memory routine,” said Kohel.
What she remembers most about the performance, however, is the overwhelming support from the other teams. They “stopped almost everyone to tell me ‘good job,’ or they’re proud of me or they’re hugging me,” Kohl recalled.
“It’s almost overwhelming how much support I’ve had from everyone,” she continued. “The whole arena cheered me on. It wasn’t just a small section. It was the whole arena.”
Ott said the experience “gave me goosebumps.”
Kohel was the first solo cheer performer at the competition
This was the third year that Morrill High School had competed in the state championships, and Kohel became the first ever solo artist from the high school and the competition. She also came in eighth out of 12, which Ott and Kohel are “excited” about as it’s the highest finish the team has ever placed.
“I felt ready and confident,” said Kohel. “I’m absolutely thrilled with my placement and I’m so over the moon with how I did.”
Ott agreed with her student, saying she was “super proud of her because she wanted to finish what she started.”
“This whole thing was amazing,” said Ott, who began coaching the cheer team the same year that Kohel joined.
“It’s been fun to see her learn, grow and thrive through our program here at Morrill,” she added. “We kind of grew up together and learned the basics. I didn’t know much about cheers, she didn’t know much about cheers, but we found out over the last four years, and the journey has been amazing.”
She added that it was “an inspiration” to watch her student perform this performance.
“We all have struggles in our lives, we all have obstacles, we all have adversity within us and around us, and just for her to acknowledge that ‘I can do this coach and I will go do it’ was just an inspiration. “
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https://news.yahoo.com/nebraska-high-school-cheerleader-competed-141237876.html A Nebraska high school cheerleader competed alone after the rest of her squad quit. She said the support she received from other teams was “overwhelming”.