By Tamas Mondovics

“To be a Bloomingdale High School Cheerleader is to be part of something special,” said first year program Head Coach Michelle Groat, whose words proved true this season.

A strong performance at the FSHAA Competitive Cheer Regional Competition earlier this year paved the way for the Bloomingdale squad to take its routine to the 2016 Florida High School Competitive Cheerleading State Championships finals hosted by the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA).

According to Groat, the team’s goal going into the semi-finals was simple: advance to finals. As the last words to her team before they headed up the stairs to the platform, Groat said, “We are competing against 11 teams and only three will move on to finals…you have a job to do. Go out there and have fun.”

And, that is just what the girls did.

Unfortunately, during the finals performance, one team member was injured and unable to continue. That was trouble. The decision to stop the routine was made by Groat and assistant coaches Shelly Teal and Taylor Hill. Under the direction of the talented coaching team, the girls regained composure, regrouped, reworked the routine, and poured their hearts and souls into the performance, which led to the squad earning fourth place in the 2A Medium Varsity Division.

That was triumph.

“Knowing they had done their best, the girls went to the awards ceremony with their heads held high,” Groat said. “When they learned they had placed fourth in this division, the team went crazy.”

The last time BSHS Cheer performed at the state finals was in 2011 when the squad won Championship title. The current season was to be a rebuilding year for the team lead by Team Captain Julianne Isabel, who has maintained a positive presence encouraging her teammates to push through and fight for their stunts.

“I really wanted to have a good senior year with cheer,” Isabel said. “I’m just so proud of everyone.”

“It has been such a pleasure to watch the girls grow as individuals and as a team,” Groat said. “I can’t wait to see what next year holds.”

For more information about local schools athletics, visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.