BELLBROOK — When Haley Greer found out the 2020 competition cheerleading state championship would not be in person, she was less than thrilled.
“Our recordings were not good,” the Bellbrook High School senior and member of the BHS comp cheering team said. “I was like ‘This sucks.’ We’re not going to do good. We do better in person.”
Turns out Greer and her teammates do pretty darn good in a recording too.
Bellbrook finished second in the Division-III, non-building category at the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators state championship, held virtually due to COVID.
“It’s a great way to leave,” Greer said. “I’m so proud.”
It’s Bellbrook’s highest finish in the category, which was the largest of all of them this year, and historically has more teams than others. Bellbrook went up against 14 other schools, all with a girls enrollment between 224-389.
Granville was first with 366.2 points, followed by Bellbrook with 344.4. Marlington, the 2020 state champ (311.4) was eighth. Carroll (267.4) was 15th. Granville also won in 2019.
Coach Debi Schwieterman tried to make the recording session as similar to a real event as possible. Members of the community were invited to the gym to watch in a socially distant setting and one could sense the energy watching the performance.
When they finished, many girls hugged each other in excitement, feeling they had just recorded a solid routine.
“I thought we did pretty good,” said senior Jamie Levine. “Honestly, I was thinking fifth. I wasn’t thinking second.”
The team had to wait two weeks before finding out, as the OASSA played all videos during the virtual performance and then announced the results. While watching and waiting in a large conference room, the video stopped working because so many viewers froze the feed.
In the interim, Schwieterman ran over to her classroom in Bellbrook Middle School to print the list of who they were competing against. But by then, the results had been posted.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ ” Schwieterman said. “To get second was amazing. Great way to end the season.”
The team had a similar reaction.
“I was in shock,” said senior Naika Nagy. “I was trying to video tape it at the same time to try to capture everyone’s reaction. I was so excited. I would have never imagined that we would have gotten second. I almost cried.”
Levine quickly intervened: “She did cry.”
Nagy’s tears are understandable. She missed most of last season with a broken arm. Last year Bellbrook was 12th. Two years ago BHS was ninth. When this year’s seniors were freshmen, let’s just say there was plenty of room for improvement.
“We finished completely last,” Nagy said.
This year, with the three seniors, one junior, four sophomores, and six freshmen, Bellbrook gave off a different vibe in the gym.
“With this team, it was way different this year,” Levine said. “Our team’s just a very good team.”
The girls showed that all season. In addition to the second-place finish at state, the team also won the Southwest Buckeye League Southwest Division and overall championship for the first time, finally besting rival Franklin.
“That was like our goal,” Schwieterman said.
Then the week before state, Bellbrook competed at Centerville’s Cheer for a Cure event and finished fourth in the varsity small division, based on team size. Fairmont, Centerville, and Miamisburg — which have 833, 1,008, and 348 girls compared to Bellbrook’s 348 — were the top three.
Fairmont had 90.9 points, Centerville 89, Miamisburg 85.3 and Bellbrook 85.3. The ability to compete with such large schools gave Bellbrook a big boost of confidence.
“That helped a lot,” Levine said. “Then state’s our (normal) division. It made it way much easier.”
Added Greer, “We did amazing at it.”
Most competitions don’t show scores. Judges just provide feedback and a letter grade. They saw scores after Centerville.
“That’s one of the reasons we showed them,” Schwieterman said. “We wanted them to see (how close they were). This is not my most talented team. But they’re the hardest working team you’ll ever see. I call them my dream team.”
There is a good chance the dream will continue into the future as the bulk of the team will be around for a few more years.
“I cannot wait to see how good they are when the freshmen are seniors,” Greer said.
Other squad members are: Cali Barker; Bella Bean; Libby Chiasson; Grace Heckler; Emma Koogler; Addie Kosins; Emma Kosins; Sophia Ocampo; Makayla Schram; Bella Stone; and Chloe Terrell.
Assistant coaches are Holly Levine, Jonele Terrell, and Nikki Kosins.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.