Paschal Cheerleaders Win State

Ella Herdman, Reporter

The Paschal Cheerleaders took home the state title on Saturday, January 14th at the annual UIL Spirit State Championship hosted at the Fort Worth Convention Center. There, the team competed against 74 other 6A Division 2 cheer teams from all over the state of Texas and came out on top.

In the past 6 years Paschal has attended this

competition, they have made the top 20 teams four times. However, in the year 2022, the team fell short and did not make it to the final round.

With this in mind, the coaches, Coach Saenz and Coach Reimann, decided to bring in a professional choreographer in hopes of starting fresh. Ashley Johnson, the head coach of UTSA Cheer, entirely recreated the previous UIL routine with the goal of giving the team the best chance possible to showcase their talent. 

Over the past 4 months, the paschal cheer team has been putting in hours and hours of practice and choreography in order to completely reshape their UIL routine which consists of four parts: band chant, crowd leading, situational, and fight song. This ultimately led the team to a success none could have ever imagined.

During the preliminary round, the Paschal team gave it their very best shot in hopes of making it to the final round which only the top 20 teams compete in. With only a few tiny mistakes, the team was hopeful that they would advance, but scoring higher than 54 teams seemed difficult. 

After much anticipation, the top 20 teams were announced with Paschal as one of them. The entire team and coaches were ecstatic, but didn’t sit on it for very long. The team went straight into practicing and changing the routine based off of the score sheets from the first round. The captains, Indie Lopez, Morgan Dougherty, Findley Dvorak, and Sarah Jackson, assisted in adding several new elements to fit the judges taste. Every girl on the team had tunnel vision for putting their very best out on the mat. The goal was to feel that the routine “peaked” as the coaches put it.

At around 8:30 pm, the Paschal Cheerleaders competed for the second time that day with the hopes of making the top 10 teams in the state. The girls felt extremely confident in their performance and felt that goal was not out of reach. 

A few minutes later, awards began for the finalist teams. The judges first announced the highest scoring teams for each separate section. Paschal made its debut as the winner of the crowd leading section, scoring an incredible 88.9 out of 90 points. 

Next, the judges began naming the top 10 teams going from 10th counting down to 4th. Slowly, the list got closer and closer to 1st, and the girls were starting to become confused. “We knew we were good enough to make top 10, but we were reluctant to believe we could be 2nd or 1st out of 74 teams,” said Head Captain Indie Lopez. 

As the second place team was announced to be Byron Nelson, previous winners the past two years in a row, everyone held their breath, including all of the friends and family in the stands supporting the panthers. What happened next no one had expected. The Paschal Varsity Cheer Team was announced to be the State Champions of the UIL competition. Happy tears were shed by the girls and the coaches as the girls were awarded gold medals. 

This was a moment that will go down in the history books of Paschal High School, as it was the first state championship to be won at Paschal in 17 years, and the praise the team received from the school showed just how much of a community Paschal High School is.