KINGMAN - The Kingman Academy spirit line was on the sidelines when the football team won the state championship in November and again in February when the boys basketball team returned to Kingman with a state title.
So naturally the pressure was on the Tigers to move from the sidelines to the forefront with a title of their own. They didn't disappoint, winning the Charter Athletic Association's first-ever state spirit line competition last month.
"The squad was determined to bring that state championship home," said KAHS spirit line coach Jill Proudfoot. "They felt pressured. They wanted it."
The state championship is the latest accomplishment for the squad that saw its captains - Alli Walker, Jessica Valandingham and Brianna Averett - march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York last year. It was also a chance for the members to redeem themselves after what Proudfoot described as a "heartbreaking" loss at the regionals and missing a chance to qualify for the national competition.
It's a loss that helped the squad better prepare for state.
"We came home and changed things up to where we can be more solid and show our strengths a little bit more and I think that's what helped us," Proudfoot said.
The Tigers will lose two seniors and just concluded tryouts for next year's squad. Right now they have 18 members, but unlike other sports, there is no limit to the number of members the squad can have.
"If I had 25 or 28, I would take them," Proudfoot said.
In addition to the state title and the appearance at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the squad has participated in events at the Fiesta Bowl and Disneyland through various cheerleading organizations.
As with the rest of the Kingman Academy's athletic teams, the spirit line is excited about the school's move from the CAA to the Arizona Interscholastic Association.
"The AIA has a state competition for cheer and our team is really looking forward to it," Proudfoot said.
Proudfoot isn't sure how the AIA move is going effect the spirit line, but she did express interest in having a cheer competition with all the schools in Mohave County.
"It would be great if schools from all over the county could come up," Proudfoot said. "I think it would be interesting."
The Tigers are taking the next couple of weeks off before starting practice again to get the new members of the squad up to speed. They will take most of June off before heading to camps in July. Afterward, it will be back to the grind for a sport that has been growing in popularity over the last decade.
"There really isn't much recognition unless a cheer squad goes to a competition," Proudfoot said. "We are very, very supportive of our athletic teams and very involved in the community. The squad is excited to see what the year is going to bring."
Click for home delivery with comics, grocery deals, inserts, TV listings, coupons and more