Pirate cheer team rallies at state finals

March 3, 2023

– Contributed photo The Hart Competitive Cheer Team includes, left to right, Asst. Coach Markaya McBean, Coach Jennifer Hlady, LexieBeth Nienhuis, Nora Chickering, Lillian Hallack, Avery Ramseyer, Jenna Hanks, Athena Thocher, Jasmyne Villanueva, Asst. Coach Ashleigh Andritsis.

Pirate cheer team rallies at state finals

Pirate News is a presentation of Hart Public Schools in partnership with Oceana County Press.  

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor. 

MOUNT PLEASANT — The Hart Varsity Competitive Cheer Team has a lot to smile about after finishing in fourth place at the state competition at Central Michigan University Thursday, March 2.

The top eight teams in the division competed at the Michigan High School Athletic Association state finals — out of 82 total teams in D4.

“Coming in fourth out of 82 makes me smile,” said Pirate Coach Jennifer Hlady, who has been coaching the team for a dozen years. 

– Contributed photo The Pirate cheer team with one of their biggest — and littlest — supporters, Coach Hlady’s son, Koye.

Competing in Division 4, the Pirates compiled an overall score of 739.56. State champion in D4 Hudson finished with a 771.04. Runner up Michigan Center totaled 745.20, and third place Adrian Madison tallied 741.16. Merrill finished fifth after Hart with a 730.20 score.

Seniors on the seven-member squad are Jenna Hanks, Avery Ramseyer and Lillian Hallack. The Pirate team also includes Juniors Athena Thocher and Jasmyne Villanueva and sophomores Nora Chickering and LexieBeth Nienhuis. 

The Pirates advanced to the state finals after taking districts at Marion High School with a 744.93 score and then regionals in Grand Rapids with 729.12 points.

– Contributed photo

“We have a team of seven, and each of these girls has their role and each did a phenomenal job,” said Coach Hlady. “We would not have had success without each and every one of these girls. 

“Our strengths this season were our impeccable timing in round two and our tumbling and stunting within our round three. I am so proud of this team — they will hold a very special place in my heart.”

Mason County Central’s cheer squad took eighth place in the D4 state finals. The Spartans and the Pirates were the only two West Michigan Conference teams to advance to the state level.

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