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Marriotts Ridge cheerleading team wins second straight state championship

The Marriotts Ridge cheerleading team poses for a photo after winning the Class 1A/2A state championship on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at Harford Community College.
The Marriotts Ridge cheerleading team poses for a photo after winning the Class 1A/2A state championship on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at Harford Community College. (Photo courtesy of Sugene Shin)

The Marriotts Ridge cheerleading team made history last fall with its 1A/2A state championship — the first state title in school history.

What happened Tuesday at Harford Community College, though, may no longer be historic for the Mustangs. It may just be the program’s new norm.

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Marriotts Ridge won its second straight 1A/2A state title with a score of 120.3 to edge out powerhouse Kent Island, which finished second with a score of 119.4.

“I’m really proud of the team and of how far Marriotts Ridge athletics have come,” said head coach Sugene Shin. “The hard work all paid off. We were all shocked. There was a lot of joy and emotion.”

Marriotts Ridge cheerleading won its fourth straight county title dating back to Fall 2018 with a score of 123.6 points at the Howard County winter cheerleading championships at Oakland Mills High on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

The triumph was the 11th straight for the Mustangs, who finished fifth at their first competition of the fall but haven’t left an event without a gold trophy since.

“I think the team formed a stronger bond because they’ve been together now for more than six months," Shin said. "They’re more like sisters than teammates, which helped the team dynamic.”

While the Mustangs had won 10 straight competitions heading into states, Shin knew defeating Kent Island and Eastern Tech, which finished third with a score of 117.95, would be difficult. In response to the tough competition, Shin decided to increase the difficulty of the Mustangs’ fall routine, which won them the county, regional and state competitions.

“They’re a really strong team," Shin said of Kent Island. “We made the routine harder. The basic routine was the same, but we wanted to get the difficulty score up in the rubric. We did a lot of reps of each stunt in practice.”

The Marriotts Ridge cheerleading team won the Howard County fall championship on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, at Reservoir High School.

Shin doesn’t know what exactly what led to this season being the breakout year for her team. If she had to guess, she said it’s due to the team’s “hunger" to be successful.

“We’ve never been this successful before, but for the fall and winter, we’ve had 11 consecutive wins. That is crazy. The girls were always hungry. The only thing we were focused on was doing better than last time.”

Shin said that her senior class has clearly left its mark on the program, but senior captains Emma Clarke, Kristen Trainer and Andie Batten will be remembered most for being “great” teammates.

“These three seniors are awesome,” Shin said. “With how hyper and crazy I can be as a coach, they keep the team grounded. They’re the first people to help a teammate up, and they work really hard.”

The Marriotts Ridge cheerleading team won the MPSSAA Class 1A/2A championship on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, at Harford Community College.

The members of the Mustangs’ state championship winning team are: Ademilola Adeyemo, Andie Batten, Elizabeth Choi, Emma Clarke, Caroline Goering, Melissa Kressen, Kara Lee, Madison Matlock, Kaitlyn McDonald, Alexandra Mulroe, Alexa Pastras, Brooke Rosewag, Camryn Sanschagrin, Molly Stump, Kristen Trainer, Victoria Vandenberge, Rowan Vessey.

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