By DOUG WILSONHerald-Whig Senior Writer
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Quincy Notre Dame's pompom squad won the Class A state championship for the second year in a row on Saturday.
Thirteen girls traveled to the Illinois Drill Team Association competition in the Assembly Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois at Champaign.
"It's very exciting to be back-to-back state champs," said Jennifer Terwelp, who has coached the squad for three years and was on the squad for four years when she was in high school.
Quincy High School took second place in the Class AAA Pom/Dance competition and fifth place in the division's Jazz competition.
For QHS, Abby Harris, Derrica Sykes and Kaleigh Kuhlman were individual competitors, with Kuhlman placing seventh out of 44 pommers.
"We had 22 girls at the competition. They just worked really hard all season and this is really exciting," said Whitney Stanford, who coaches the QHS squad.
The IDTA competition ends the pom squads' season. The girls begin training in June, perform at football and basketball games in the fall and winter, and take part in competitions around the state from January through March.
QND's squad has been working on the pom routine for five months. Week after week, they were changing it after getting feedback after performances, Terwelp said.
Sierra Baker, the only senior on QND's team, is looking forward to a fire truck escort on Monday afternoon. The celebration, which will be held in conjunction with a celebration for the QND scholastic bowl team that finished fourth in the state, will start at 12:45 p.m. Monday from the Kmart parking lot at 36th and Broadway. The teams will be welcomed at all four Catholic grade schools and then go to QND gym for an assembly.
Baker said the pompom squad is close and has worked hard all year.
Karley Long, a junior on the squad, said winning the Class A competition made all the hard work worthwhile.
"Competing against some really great squads makes this one of the four best days of your life -- from freshman to senior," Long said.
Other members of the QND squad are juniors Kasey Long, Lizzy Miller, Alyssa Schlepphorst, sophomores Meghan Duesterhaus, Kaelie Harvey, Emily McCleery and Angelica Niemann, and freshmen Brianna Holbrook, Vanessa Lavery, Emily Schwartz and Cierra Williams.
Olivia Ernst, one of the captains of the QHS pom squad, said it's a great honor to win second place in the Class AAA.
"All these girls are just so awesome and so hard working," Ernst said.
Pittsfield High School placed fourth in Class AA.