By Will LeBlond
DRYDEN – At the start of the Dryden cheerleading team’s season, the goal was to make history. With the year not yet concluded, that goal has already been accomplished.
While Dryden has had individual state champions – in track and wrestling – a team has never taken part in a state championship event. That will change on Saturday, March 4, when the Purple Lions compete to be the best in New York at the SRC Arena & Events Center in Syracuse.
The team has already secured IAC and Section IV championships, winning the latter earlier this month, but question marks surrounded the team prior to its sectional competition.
“We had actually had an injury occur during our performance at the IAC championship event that made it necessary to move up a few JV girls to insure we could advance to states,” said coach Alisha Scheffler. “I made the decision to move up a few JV girls and prayed that they could learn my entire routine in four practices.”
The move to bring up members of the JV team was necessary for Scheffler, as the team qualified at the IAC Championship in the large school size category. Had the injured athlete been unable to compete, Dryden would have needed to drop down to small, which would have kept them from reaching states.
This came when Section IV had their first season of offering competitive cheer at the sectional championships and thus moving on to the state championships beginning this year. With the stakes high, Scheffler and crew set the bar high and hope that it becomes a trend of winning for the Purple Lions.
“Our season goal was to make history,” said Scheffler. “All we wanted was to set a good first impression for the underclassmen in hopes that it would set a high bar for the future of our program.”
Dryden’s future can wait, however, because this year’s state championship is sharply in focus in the minds of the Purple Lions.
“Our next step to prepare for states is to go over the sectional score sheets and judges comments with a fine tooth comb and make any changes that we can to amp up our routine,” said Scheffler. “Build confidence, make history, practice, practice, practice – like champions.”