Howell Cheerleaders Bring Home National Crown
Rebels lead strong contingent of Jersey Shore talent
Whether it is outdoors at football games or in the gym supporting the basketball teams, the Howell High School Cheerleaders are always their rooting on their fellow Rebels. Recently, the school's competitive cheerleading team was the group being cheered on as they won a national title after a trip to Atlanta.
The girls competed in the Cheersport National Championship and brought home the title after previous attempts at the top spot had fallen short. Competing in the Level 4 Division Coach Deanna Markovitch said the girls knew it would not be easy to finish the trip at the top of the pyramid. "It's a challenging competition," she said. "You're competing against teams with the exact same skill level."
This year's squad consisted of 10 seniors with underclassmen making up the rest of the unit. Coach Markovitch said she knew when the season started in August they could be a talented group. From the time competitions started in January she said their confidence started to grow which helped them succeed. "We definitely have the talent," she said. "Because it was half of an old team and half of a new team it was challenging in that respect."
As they showed with the title in hand, it was not a challenge they could not overcome. She said a competition the weekend before Nationals was when everything really came together for the girls. "It was a huge confidence booster for them," she said. "I think that was one of the driving forces."
In the past the squad has gone to other national championships but this crop of seniors was the first to go to Atlanta four years ago. "I think I wanted it most for them," she said. "We went there for three years and I had to kind of convince them to go back.
Markovitch said after some disappointing finishes the team was unsure if they should look for a new event to go to. Now that they won, the coach said the girls are glad they made the trip. "We're very excited. It's still kind of surreal."
The Rebels may have been far from home but they showed how proud they were of where they come from from the moment they boarded their flight to Atlanta. Wearing green camouflage shirts with "Jersey Strong," on the front the coach said the girls represented not only Howell but also the region very well. "It showed we're all okay and we're getting back up on our horse," she said.
Following the win the coach said the girls decided they wanted to give back to the area they love. The team will use some of their prize money to support the Belmar Buy a Board campaign. When the work is done on the boardwalk one of the boards will be dedicated to the team.
The Rebels also will not be able to rest on their laurels following the win. They will be back in action on Sunday with a trip to Trenton for the New Jersey state championship. Markovitch said states are as important if not more important than nationals. "It's something that the girls really try for," she said. "Cheersport is one of the bigger ones, but to win states in New Jersey is almost a bigger deal."