Cheer — The Tigers overcome a rare fall to edge Tualatin by 0.08 points

PORTLAND — Saturday’s state championship contained two moments of shock for the Newberg cheerleading team.

The first came when their pyramid collapsed toward the end of their routine. The second came when it was announced that Tualatin had finished in second place.

The Tigers were stunned, both excited and confused, because they still didn’t know what to do with themselves, comprehending that they might not have placed at all.

The pause between the announcement of Tualatin’s runner-up finish and the declaration of the state champion probably felt longer to Newberg and its fans than anyone else in Memorial Coliseum, but their name was finally called, setting off a jubilant SUBMITTED - Champs once again - The NHS cheer team poses for a photo after winning the Class 6A small division title at the championships last week in Portland.

“Going down onto the mat we were sad, but happy we had been able to compete,” senior Allison Schmidt said. “Then after getting first, we were just crazy happy.”

The Tigers entered the tournament as the prohibitive favorite in the 6A small division, having won all seven of the competitions it entered this year, but found themselves in unchartered waters when their pyramid collapsed.

“It had never even happened in practice, so they didn’t even know how to recover from it,” head coach Lisa Berg said. “I think it was a shock moment to them and they were just trying to wrap their heads around what happened, own it and finish it. They just picked themselves up. It was like five seconds, but for me it felt like a minute watching it.”

Newberg finished with an average score of 68.08 from the event’s six judges, so that after losing a point for the stumble, its final score was 67.08. That proved to be just enough to beat out Tualatin, which had a 67.00-point average on a penalty-free routine.

Newberg’s final score also proved to be the second highest across all divisions, trailing only 6A/5A large division champion Aloha’s 70.33.

More important than the win for Berg was how her team handled the five or so hours between the end of their routine and the award announcements.

“That’s what, as a coach, I’m most proud of,” Berg said. “They absolutely held their heads high. Of course they were disappointed and of course the rollercoaster of waiting for the outcome was painful. I was just heartbroken.”

The Tigers also participated in the Oregon Cheerleading Coaches Association’s Oregon Cheer Championships Sunday. The event was primarily for the junior varsity squad, which won the co-ed division, but the varsity squad took the opportunity to put forth a clean routine they felt they should have presented a day earlier.

Berg said it was the squad’s best performance of the season and Newberg was named both division and grand champions of the event.

The Tigers will now turn their attention to the national championship meet over spring break in Anaheim, Calif.

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