Last year the Benedictine cheer and dance squads came back from the HAAC championships proudly holding the championship banner. This year they returned confused and frustrated.
The cause for their frustration is simple – they earned first place in two categories, more than any other HAAC team, yet they did not receive the banner. Instead, the banner went home with Baker University.
The Benedictine squad placed first in both All-Girl Cheer and Open Dance and fourth in Mascot and Hip Hop. Baker did not receive a first-place award in any event they competed in.
Benedictine Athletic Director Charlie Gartenmayer said he does not know why Benedictine did not receive the HAAC banner when it appears it should have been rightfully theirs.
"I don't understand how (this mix-up) takes place," Gartenmayer said. "I know that after the competition our two coaches, Coach Nigus and Coach Redd, went and spoke to the meet director and he could not explain it."
"With cheer and dance both placing first in their division and being named HAAC and NAIA Regional champions, it's hard to make sense of how Baker is named HAAC champions," said Benedictine cheer squad head coach Missy Nigus. "But the banner is based on points and not division wins, so I guess it's possible that Baker won.
Nigus said score sheets will be publicized at a later time due to "discrepancies in scoring," and Benedictine is still waiting on the results.
Senior Mallory Wetta, co-captain of the cheer squad, said despite the disappointing result she couldn't be happier with the way her team performed.
"Obviously, when we found out Baker got the banner we were so disappointed. You could see it on all of our faces," Wetta said. "But I am still so proud of my team – we lost half of our squad we had last year, and we still came back and got first place."
"We would have loved to bring home the banner again this year but we are two-time HAAC champions in cheer and dance," Nigus said. "We continue to make our presence known."
The competing members of the dance team were: Alyssa Poarch, Emily Schaefer, Jena Dillon, Robyn Rogers, Amy Stine, Laddie DeGrand, Karianne Bolduc, Kateri Poarch, Molly Galbrecht, Molly Riscoe, Traci Blanchat, Sarah Makkawy, Allison Buell and Chelsea Welch.
The competing members of the cheer squad were: Wetta, Jenna Hundley, Gina Cannella, Michaela Maguire, Tina Busch, Leslie Farrell, Emma Dusterhoff, Christine Egan, Jessi Schmidt, Cassie Rockers, Angela Licausi, Taryn Frank, Katie Desme, Michell Lindesmith, Nicole Palaschak, Kelly McVeigh, Elyssa Sitti, Marissa Lueger, Alex Rudolph and Christina Vaughn.
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This story was written by sports information office student reporter Maddie Maher.