The last time the Mt. Hebron cheerleading team won the county championship, the current senior class was just young freshmen, and coach Holly Steinberg was in her first year at the helm.
Three full seasons later, the Vikings were anxious to get back on top, and senior Emily Turner knew this could be the last chance she and her teammates could be competing together. She knew they would need to nail their difficult routine to advance to the regional meet.
On Oct. 28, Mt. Hebron did just enough to outscore Glenelg, 118.6 to 118.5, to win the county competition at Atholton High School. The host Raiders came in third with 117.25 points.
“I’m feeling really happy, like ecstatic,” said Turner. “We prepared a lot for it, and we hit our routine perfectly, so I thought we had a really good chance and we pushed through in the end. ... I think this was our best routine so far. Freshman year we also won counties, so it’s good to start and end winning counties.”
Steinberg said she was in disbelief when her team was announced as winners, noting it was an “incredible feeling.”
“I thought that was their best performance they’ve ever done, and they really worked hard to increase their difficulty from the past competitions,” she said. “I think everything goes into it, but I think the girls enthusiasm and energy and excitement for the routine (was the difference).”
Turner agreed that it was their enthusiasm that put them over the top. She added it was easy to be enthusiastic because she was competing alongside her “second family.”
“I think we had a lot of energy which really put us on top,” she said. “We were really excited and we put it all out on the floor. ... The energy and the relationships between the girls, we were all so well put together and it all worked out. I really love them and I talk to them all the time. ... We’re all so happy for each other and proud of each other. It made us even tighter, I think, as a family.”
“This group has worked really well together,” added Steinberg. “They are all friends and they’re good teammates with each other, and that really plays a part in coming together and having a strong routine.”
The win is even sweeter for Mt. Hebron, Turner said, because they hadn’t been able to put it all together yet. Their routine on Oct. 28 was the first time all season they were able to “nail it.”
“It’s just really good because in the past we had done well, but not our full potential,” she said. “So having this competition and hitting it perfectly, it made us feel really great.”
Steinberg said she was so happy for her team to show that all their hard work wasn’t for nothing. She knew afterwards that her team did a great job with their routine, but wasn’t confident they would win until they heard their name called.
“It feels really good to work up to this point, and all the effort that the girls have put into it, it’s nice to know that it paid off. ...,” Steinberg said. “I don’t think you can ever feel confident you have it in the bag. So many other teams were incredible, and it was a really close competition.”
The win puts the Vikings in the regional competition, and Steinberg is excited to continue to work with her team.
“We’re going to continue to work really hard, if not harder than they already have,” she said. “We’re just hoping to improve with what we already have.”
Howard County 2015 fall cheerleading county results:
1. Mt. Hebron, 118.6 points; 2. Glenelg, 118.5; 3. Atholton, 117.25; 4. Marriotts Ridge, 115.6; 5. River Hill, 113.5; 6. Reservoir, 108.3; 7. Long Reach, 106.05; 8. Howard, 105.1; 9. Hammond, 94.9; 10. Oakland Mills, 84.9; 11. Wilde Lake, 82.35; 12. Centennial, 82.3.