Bambies make a statement in Hershey

The St. Hubert cheerleading team earned its chocolate bar by winning a state championship. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

In a year that has had a lot of obstacles, they finally have something to cheer about.

The St. Hubert High School cheerleading team won a state championship on Saturday when the Bambies took first place at the 2021 PIAA Competitive Spirit Championships, held at the Giant Center.

It was the second time in three years that Hubert won the 3A Large Division Championship. This year, it finished above second-place Cumberland Valley. The Bambies scored 94.55, CV had 89.52.

What’s even more impressive is that the Bambies did it with just four seniors on the roster — Marissa Kramer, Emily Livewell, Alyssa Heron and Irelynn McClernand.

“Our four seniors led our young team to a state championship,” said Paul Ballentine‏, an assistant coach and brother of head coach Lisa McNesby. “It’s not easy, winning this competition. From Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, the competition is tough and the teams are very talented. We are so grateful and honored to represent St. Hubert. Our girls love their school and are true representations of young women with faith and integrity.”

The Bambies are used to success.

Every year, they’re among the top in the Catholic League, the state and the nation. But this year was different. This was a year when there were no crowds. No sport needs fans as much as cheerleading, but the Bambies were able to win the Catholic League championship earlier this year and now the state title.

“Being state champions is an amazing feeling, but scoring highest overall is even better,” said Kramer, who lives in Abington. “After such a hard season, we have come so far and pushed ourselves day in and day out. There were amazing teams at the state championships and having the honor to come out on top is a feeling that is unbeatable.”

“This was my first state championship title and winning as a senior feels absolutely amazing,” said Heron, who lives in Parkwood. “This was by far one of the toughest seasons I’ve ever had, which makes this mean more than ever before. I was in shock when I found out we had the highest score. There were so many amazing teams there so it was an honor to be on top.”

“It definitely was amazing to be able to compete in person with my team,” said McClernand, who lives in Mayfair. “Being in our gym filming for virtual nationals gets repetitive and frustrating, so to be able to leave the gym to perform was refreshing and exciting.”

The Bambies were one of many Catholic League teams to star at Hershey. Also winning a state championship was Lansdale Catholic. Archbishop Wood took second. And Archbishop Ryan came in fourth in its category, which is a great showing at the state meet.

Winning is always sweet, but the Bambies have made a habit of it. So when the girls had a chance to join the team, they jumped at it.

“Cheering at St. Hubert’s means making your best friends for life while representing our school’s competitive spirit,” McClernand said. “My coaches and my teammates are my family, and I would be lost without them. We all have so much fun doing what we love, but nothing makes us happier than getting the opportunity to win district, state and national titles for our school that we love so dearly.”

“Cheering for St. Hubert means the world to me,” Heron said. “I came from Crispin cheerleading and dreamed of being a Hubert’s cheerleader one day. Being with my team and coaches makes me feel at home, and we all share such a strong love for cheerleading. We inspire and motivate each other, and it is an awesome feeling being surrounded by such amazing people.”

“Cheering for St. Hubert’s is like a dream come true for me. Ever since I was a little Crispin cheerleader, I dreamed of one day being a Bambie,” Kramer said. “Having the opportunity to cheer for St. Hubert’s has changed my life. Being around the coaches and the girls just gives me a warm-at-home feeling. The passion for this sport that not only the cheerleaders have but the coaches have as well make this experience twice as good. It really is the best feeling when you walk around with that St. Hubert’s uniform on.”

Now that states are done, the girls still have work to do.

They are virtually competing for a national championship. The meet is usually held at Disney, but this year because of coronavirus, they’re streaming the competition to the judges, and that will be how the championship is decided.

The goal is to win, but if they don’t, Kramer, Heron and McClernand are proud of what they accomplished. All three will go on to great things after high school. All three plan to study nursing next year.

And they’ll also all go out winners no matter what after what they did Saturday.

“Our routine this year was a combination of difficultly and execution,” Ballentine‏ said. “We highlighted our elite tumbling skills while showcasing our strongest stunts.”

The team consists of freshmen Alivia Murphy, Caitlin Cranston, Layla Mastrangelo, Angelina Kinniry, Jenni Leneghan, Camryn Klepczynski, Leah Brace, Samantha Kinniry and Alexa Wright; sophomores Kait Wilson, Alyssa Cooper, Gab Marzullo, Frankie D’Andrea, Kate Tomes, Jess Burgher and Kyleigh Taylor; juniors Olivia Ovington, Sophia Bowen, Shea Quinn and Mikayla Vallone; and seniors Marissa Kramer, Emily Livewell, Alyssa Heron and Irelynn McClernand.