The boys and girls basketball teams weren't the only ones competing for a trip to the state championships last weekend in Sitka.
The Juneau-Douglas High School basketball cheerleading team sealed its place at the state championships by winning the Class 4A Southeast Conference cheerleading title Saturday at Mount Edgecumbe High School.
The Crimson Bears will represent the region in the Alaska School Activities Association State Championships on Tuesday at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.
"We're pretty happy," JDHS cheerleading coach Tracy Oldaker said. "Absolutely, I mean especially with our team being so young. We only had three returning seniors and the rest have never really cheered before."
Juneau cheerleaders ReBecca Troutt and Aszli Skryzynski were named to the All-Conference team.
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The Crimson Bears' journey to state featured plenty of twists and turns during the year. The team almost didn't get off the ground due to a lack of coaches. After Oldaker and her team signed on, the Crimson Bears battled through injuries and other demands with a young, inexperienced squad to be named the region's best team.
"It was amazing we pulled it through," Oldaker said.
In Anchorage, JDHS will compete in the co-ed division for a state title.
The state championships resemble more of a celebration than white-knuckled, intense competition. For teams competing, a spot in the state championships can be an affirmation of all the hard work put in during a long season.
"You have to have strength, flexibility, agility and it's a very aggressive sport now and I think that's where people get the misconception," Oldaker said. "We have eight guys on the team and 12 girls. It takes a lot of strength to put these girls up in the air and make sure they land properly."
Juneau's renowned dance team also earned accolades in Sitka.
For pictures of the JDHS cheerleading team, log on to spotted.juneauempire.com/
Mount Edgecumbe held an adjudication, or a judgment of dance routines, on Saturday during the basketball tournament.
The Crimson Bears earned a superior rating from the judges, the highest honor a dance team can receive in adjudication. It was also the only team competing to earn such an honor.
JDHS dance team captain Kaitlin Niewoehner, along with officers Skylar Engle and Amanda Endicott, earned All-Conference honors for their efforts.
While there is no state championships for dance, the team will perform during the Class 4A boys basketball state title game on March 24 in Anchorage.
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