Cheer team makes Marian history with first nationals bid

By MeghanBartness

Although the Marian cheer team is technically a club, they train and compete just as any other team. The student body sees the team cheer at pep rallies, games and other Marian activities that support the community. The 2021-22 cheer team won the Class A state title last spring. High school cheer and dance state championships are through the Nebraska Coaches Association.

Marian Select Competition Team: first row: Harper Hogan ‘26, Lydia Wagner ‘23, Casey Cizek ‘26, Emily Patterson ‘25, Ella Thibodeau ‘26, Rosie Flores ‘26, Fiona Render ‘25, Aeriana Siefken ‘25, Claire Behen ‘25, Emily Hill ‘26, second row: Natalie Pham ‘26, Chloe Whitcomb ‘25, Ella DeSmet ‘23, Beth Lilleskov ‘23, Grace Diers ‘23, Lily Kimble ‘25, Micah Loucks ‘23, Frannie Bazis ‘25. Photo courtesy of Beth Lilleskov.  

On Nov. 5, the select competition team of 21 members including two alternates traveled across state lines for the first time ever to compete in Regionals in Kansas City. The team placed fourth in game day cheers, third in traditional cheer and fourth overall. 

A traditional cheer category is a routine, usually around two minutes, that showcases different stunts and tumbling elements. Game day cheer is not set to music instead it involves different chants and shouts led by the cheerleaders. It is supposed to represent leading a student section at an athletic event.

Traveling over state lines adds a more competitive atmosphere to the team and is less restrictive in what tricks they are allowed to do. 

Senior cheerleader Beth Lilleskov said, “when you leave the state, all the restrictions let loose, the competition out of state is better. So then we decided to bring back game day cheers, which we haven’t done in five years, to compete both to give us two opportunities to get a bid. And then we went and we got a bid through game day.” 

Not only is it their first time traveling over state lines, but the team also got their first nationals bid, which means in February they were invited travel to Orlando, Florida to compete. This opens the door for future opportunities, said Coach Kayleigh Hanson.

“It was pretty exciting because the past couple years we’ve been trying to go to Nationals,” Lilleskov said. “And our coach said, ‘we can only go to Nationals if we get first at state,’ we have to win here before we can move on. So last year, we won. We were all on the bus, and we were like, Nationals?” 

The student body can support the cheer team by attending competitions and following their Instagram: @omahamarian_cheerteam

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