Cheerleader from Nebraska competes alone in state championships after roster’s elimination and sets team record

A Nebraska high school cheerleader has inspired people everywhere by competing solo in a state competition after her three teammates quit just days before the championships.

Katrina Kohel, a senior at Morrill High School in Morrill, Nebraska, stepped on the mat alone Feb. 17 at the Nebraska State High School Cheer and Dance Championships. Less than two weeks before the competition, her coach – April Ott – had informed Kohel that her three freshman teammates had left the Morrill Lions Cheer roster for personal reasons.

When Ott Kohel broke the news, she promised they could still attend the three-day cheering and dancing competition and watch from the sidelines. However, Kohl had other plans. With less than two weeks off the condition, Kohel learned a new routine to perform solo at the competition.

“I decided I wanted to leave and still compete because I wanted to finish my senior year with a bang, and I didn’t want to give up cheerleading because it’s such a big part of my life,” Kohel told a local Fox partner station.

When Kohel performed her solo routine at the Heartland Events Center in Grand Island, Nebraska, viewers immediately began cheering her on. A video of her performance showed Kohel dancing on the mat and picking up different colored pom-poms. Her competitors also cheered on Kohel from the sidelines.

“I probably had the loudest audience participation there,” Kohel told dem Omaha World Herald. “Everyone cheered with me and it was a great feeling.”

Kohel admitted her head “went blank” as soon as she started the routine, but it was the crowd’s cheers that helped her keep going. “They will support and cheer me on,” she recalled, according to the local news outlet. “Even if I mess up the whole thing, I’ll be fine. I’m doing this on my own and no matter what happens, it’s going to be okay.”

(Courtesy of April Ott)

(Courtesy of April Ott)

Though the high school senior couldn’t match a full team’s score, she placed eighth out of 12 squads in the Game Day Class D division — her team’s highest finish in the past three years.

Kohel’s performance marked the first time a female cheerleader had competed alone at the Nebraska State High School Cheer and Dance Championships, according to the Omaha World Herald.

“I’m really proud of myself because I know I can do it and I’m not going to give up,” she said. “Just get ready.”

(Courtesy of April Ott)

(Courtesy of April Ott)

After the stunning performance, the Morrill Lions cheer team praised Kohel’s determination in a Facebook post, alongside pictures of her solo routine.

“She did! What an amazing routine!” the post read. “Thank you to each of our Cheer friends, family and fans far and near who packed the stands and cheered for Katrina!”

(Courtesy of April Ott)

(Courtesy of April Ott)

They wrote: “The crowd boomed with callbacks to their chants and cheers! Her leaps flew through the air and her school spirit was contagious.”

“You represented the MHS Lions with pride.” Cheerleader from Nebraska competes alone in state championships after roster’s elimination and sets team record

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