The Jacobs, Cary-Grove, Hampshire and Crystal Lake Central competitive cheerleading teams advanced to next weekend's IHSA state finals after finishing in the top five of their respective divisions Sunday at the Grayslake North Sectional.
The four advancing local teams will compete beginning Friday in the two-day state finals at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington.
Jacobs was the highest finishing of the local teams after tying for second in the large team division with a score of 87.33. The Golden Eagles, who did not advance to state last year, were led by a coaching staff that took over a week before the sectional performance.
“It’s very validating. These girls deserve it more than anybody I’ve coached,” Jacobs coach Shannon Jamrozy said. “They did fabulous and put their heart and soul all on the floor today.”
Jacobs finished in a tie with Guilford and a little more than three points behind large team winner Lake Zurich. The Golden Eagles got second despite a full point deduction from their original score, something none of the top-nine finishing teams in the division had.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Jacobs co-captain Ally Jefferson said. "Our team has come so far this season, and I can’t believe at this moment that we did it."
Cary-Grove also advanced through the large team division by finishing fourth with a score of 85.53. It was not easy for the Trojans, as fourth through eighth place were separated by less than a point.
C-G jumped six points compared to the scores it was getting at the beginning of the season, while dealing with several injuries and other hurdles that could have kept them from state.
“It’s amazing. I’m shaking right now,” C-G coach Jamie Reiche said. “Words can’t describe how proud of them I am. It was the best I’ve ever seen them perform.”
Crystal Lake Central finished fourth with a score of 85.03 in the medium division to earn a trip back to state. The Tigers advanced to state as a large team last year.
“It’s really exciting. We were in a really tough sectional and are thrilled to again move on to state this year,” Central coach Elizabeth Brauneis said. “We lost a lot of numbers back in November, but this group of girls came together and had a really successful season.”
The Tigers will be joined by Hampshire at state in the medium division. The Whip-Purs claimed the last state qualifying spot in the group, finishing fifth with a score of 84.77. Grayslake North won the medium division with a score of 87.17.
Several other local schools participated at the Grayslake North sectional. In the large team division, McHenry and Prairie Ridge missed out on a qualifying spot by less than half a point by finishing in seventh and eighth places respectively. The Warriors finished with 84.63 and the Wolves with 84.57.
Crystal Lake South took ninth with an 84.50 and Huntley was 10th with 81.97 after suffering 3.5 points in deductions.
In the medium division, Richmond-Burton was more than two points out of a qualifying spot after finishing seventh with a score of 82.13.