The Prior Lake cheerleading programs had plenty to cheer about this season.
One of the Prior Lake Athletics for Youth elementary teams won all five of its competitions, including taking first at the Minnesota Cheerleading Coaches Association Championships Feb. 1 in St. Paul. The middle school program also earned a state crown, and the Lakers' varsity teams had a strong showing at the UCA National Cheer Championships Feb. 6-9 in Orlando, Florida.
Prior Lake varsity coach Bridget Ortner said hard work and dedication have been key to the team's success.
"I'm so incredibly proud of this group of athletes and coaches," Ortner said. "With only one senior on varsity, many considered this to be a rebuilding year for our team. The team was inexperienced ... but worked harder than any team I have ever coached."
The Lakers' varsity was second in both the traditional and game-day competitions at the MCCA Championships.
At nationals, Prior Lake's traditional squad finished third in the medium varsity, non-tumbling division, while the game-day team was fifth. It was the first time the program made it to the finals.
Prior Lake's junior varsity squad also competed at nationals in traditional and game-day and were semifinalists (top 12) in both.
"Our team headed into nationals so prepared and confident in their abilities, and with complete trust in their teammates," Ortner said, adding the varsity game-day team placed first in its preliminary group to go straight to the finals, a first for the school.
"During their routine, you could feel the energy in the arena," Ortner said. "Every single person on our team was giving everything they had."
Members of the Lakers' varsity include Josie Bahe, Kaylin Buckingham, Lauren Domer, Morgan Erickson, Gemma Gilbertson, Brenna Keil, Sophia Lewis, Taylor Lolling, Caitlin Mansfield, Riley Martin, Megan Mishuk, Piper Morris, Amanda Norby, Aly Olander, Macy Sheffield, Lydia Swenson, Ella Thorson, Pam Trinh and Alicia Wold.
Members of the junior varsity squad, which was second in traditional at the MCCA Championships, are Lindsey Clark, Lily Courteau, Stella Dileva, Kylee Gehrke, Shelby Goddard, Mackenzie Henning, Jenna Kettelkamp, Haddie MacGillivray, Morgan Mittag, Kyla Nauertz, Kendall Nelson, Madi Pickenpack, Madelyn Sasse, Summer Scholl, Payton Soukup and Aubree Taylor.
The Prior Lake middle school roster that won state included Ella Arbach, Carly Copeland, Stella Goodman, Reese Guggemos, Mackenzie Henning, Tatum Hunter, Hallie Kes, Sadie Kettelkamp, Sadie Kronmiller, Kate Kucera, Haddie MacGillivray, Kennedy Manella, Kendall Mattson, Morgan Murphy, Morgan Nemecek, Madison Pickenpack, Madelyn Sasse, Brooke Scholl, Lucia Solari, Sophia St. Pierre and Carys Taylor.
At the elementary level, there were two teams in the program; 25 members in grades 4 through 6 on the gold team and 16 in grades 2 through 6 on the blue squad.
“We started out the season with over half of the team new to competition cheer," Gold team Coach Kristin Kraemer said. "They were determined to work hard to accomplish their goals."
Members of the team included Dayton Nelson, Leylia Kronmiller, Taylor Caspers, Azara Olson, Jessica Soriano, Brynna Wise, Amalia Jezierski, Avery Brett, Sam Hayden, Josie Belken, Lucy Moe, Willow Blotske, Emily Melott, Ava Bildeaux, Kendall Dorf, Katelyn Cloudt, Madison Chelmo, Sydney Harvego, Payton Johnson, Lilah Kraemer, Izzie Peters, Brooklynn Borchardt, Lindsay Higgins, Brielle Gunderson, Molly Zack, Ryah Cotton, Kristin Kraemer, Tara Caspers, Angie Jezierski and Charlotte Anderson.
The Blue team took first in four of its four game-day competitions in the regular season.
“They exceeded all expectations," Blue team Coach Angie Jezierski said.
Members of the Blue squad are Capri Benning, Piper Smith, Piper Brown, Tenley Arbach, Keira Young, Katerina Wilkerson, Kaitlin Sjosten, Avery Maupin, Maddy Rossow, Avery Schneider, Jordyn Cook, Katrina Johnson, Sophia Heitzman, Alex DiFiore, Maisy Cordell, Amalia Jezierski, Emily Melott, Angie Jezierski, Susan Collins and Alex Borchardt.