After strong seasons from the AHS spiritline program, the talented Titans took things to the next level as the cheer squad won the state championship and pom took second as state runners-up.
The road to the championships included plenty of early practices, countless run-throughs of routines and a few significant milestones along the way.
Before these teams could showcase their strengths on the state stage, they needed to make it through the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s (AIA) State Qualifiers in November. They didn’t just qualify, but they dominated the competition, with the cheer team coming in first and the pom team placing second out of 22 teams.
Their energetic performances set the tone for the rest of the season as both the cheer and pom squads continued to improve, tweaking their performances to get better each time. With tireless enthusiasm and energy for performing, the Titans were set for success at the state level.
Cheer Head Coach Moriah Johnson said watching the girls win state is something she will never forget. “It was amazing. I couldn’t believe it,” Johnson said. “This team came and put all their hard work together to perform their best routine yet. It was stunning, and as a coach, it was the best feeling to watch them hit.”
The 15 athletes had numerous practices and trained for days to prepare for the state championship, with a long list of stunts they had to hit in a row. Their routine included high tumbling passes with layouts, fulls and K-twist baskets, all complicated moves that require careful coordination and timing.
“The captains made a poster for the girls to add a sticker to for every time they hit a perfect routine,” Johnson said. “It was intense, but they did amazing.”
The Titans kept working to make their routines more difficult with every competition so that they could continue building their skills and come up with something special to wow the judges.
Johnson believes their commitment and passion was the key to success for both the cheer and pom squads.
“It has to do with the love these girls have for each other and the sport. They love what they do, and it shows when they perform,” Johnson said. “They bring so much energy when they hit the mat. They go out there and perform for the crowd and each other.”
All year long, the cheer team kept saying “families finish first,” and that strong sense of comradery and friendship propelled the Titans toward a season to remember.
Johnson and Coach Ashley Parcell instilled in them early the importance of coming together as a team and having positive attitudes, which paid off with their first and second place finishes at state.
Throughout the season, Parcell enjoyed getting to watch these girls grow as athletes, students and teammates.
“I have never met another group of girls who know how to work so hard and come together as a team for the common goal,” Parcell said. “They have great communication with each other and love each other like a family. They are my dream team. As a coach, all I ever want is for my athletes to take the floor and put their heart and passion out there and give it their all. The outcome doesn’t matter as long as they do and feel their best and they never fail to do just that.”