Three cheers for best in Broward
West Broward, Coral Glades win state titles
The West Broward cheerleading team won its second consecutive state championship. (Gary Curreri, Sun Sentinel / February 23, 2012)
The number represented the second consecutive state championship for West Broward, and it also marked the number of teams to win state titles as Coral Glades pulled in the school's first state championship in any sport. Both teams are honored as the Sun Sentinel Cheerleading Teams of the Year.
West Broward won the Class 2A Large Division - Non-tumbling title, while Coral Glades improved on its state runner-up finish last year in the Class 2A Small Division - Non-tumbling – to also bring top honors.
"The girls have worked so hard and have overcome many different obstacles," said West Broward coach Brooke Nelson, whose team also won the regional title. "The team really came together at the end and it made for an incredible finish. The girls hit two perfect routines at the state championship in Kissimmee.
Bobcat senior captain Brittany Griner said it was special to walk off the floor with the state championship with a perfect routine.
"It was the best routine we ever performed," said Griner, whose team added five new girls this year. "It was a lot of pressure. We practiced five days a week for about two hours a day."
Fellow West Broward captain Sabrina Pimentel agreed the team felt the pressure of defending its title.
"Even before the first routine at state I was super emotional," Pimentel said. "I was worried that this was it and after all the work we've done and all of the work I've done all four years on the competitive would be for nothing if we didn't win…After we got perfect the first time, I knew we would even do better the second time."
Coral Glades overcame obstacles of its own as it endured a coaching change early in the season and injuries to one of its top fliers, Lexie Dey, who broke her ankle warming up before the district tournament.
"These girls were very tenacious, they refused to quit and never made excuses. I always have all of them at every practice ready to work," said Amber Armellino, who has been at Coral Glades since 2005 as an assistant and in charge of choreography before taking over as head coach this year.
The Jaguars have won more than 14 national titles, four district titles, three regional titles and now the state championship.
One of the team's senior captains, Chelsie Kazanjian, was able to share the title with her younger sister, Christie, a freshman, and her cousin, Taylor Bilecki, a sophomore.
"We were all crying, we were so happy," Chelsie said. "It was one of the best feelings in the world knowing what we went through and to be able to pull through in the end."
The team's other captain, Keke Griffin, wakes up every morning and sees the state championship medal hanging in her room. It represents many memories.
"It is very sad and it is emotional too to know that [the season] is over," said Griffin, who has been a cheerleader for 15 years since she was 3. "It is bittersweet. I am extremely happy of winning the state championship in my senior year, but that this was the last time I am going to cheer."
Other Broward squads finishes at state: Cooper City, sixth, Class 2A Extra Large Varsity Division; Blanche Ely, third, Class 2A Large Division Non-Tumbling Varsity; Coral Springs Christian, fourth, Class 1A Small Division Non-Tumbling; Dillard, third, Class 1A Large Division – Non-Tumbling.
Top regional performances included: Large Division: 1. Cardinal Gibbons; 2. Western; 3. Highlands Christian. Extra Large Division: 2. Cooper City. Small Non-Tumbling Division: 1. Deerfield Beach; 2. Coral Glades; 3. Everglades; 4. Coral Springs Christian; 5. Fort Lauderdale; 7. Coral Springs Charter; 8. Hollywood Hills. Large Non-Tumbling Division: 1. West Broward; 3. Blanche Ely; 4. Dillard; 6. Stranahan; 7. Monarch; 9. Chaminade; 10. Miramar. Small Coed Division: 2. Flanagan; 3. Douglas; 4. Taravella. Large Coed Division: 1. Plantation; 2. South Plantation; 3. Coral Springs.
The top performances at the Broward County Athletic Association competition: Coed: 1. Plantation, 2. Coral Springs, 3. South Plantation; Small Coed: 1. Flanagan, 2. Taravella, 3. Douglas; Small Non-Tumbling: 1. Coral Glades, 2. Fort Lauderdale, 3. Piper, 4. Deerfield Beach, 5. Hollywood Hills, 6. Nova; Large Non-Tumbling: 1. Dillard, 2. West Broward, 3. McArthur, 4. Miramar, 5. Blanche Ely, 5. Stranahan, 6. Monarch; All-Girl Tumbling: 1. Cooper City, 2. Cardinal Gibbons, 3. Western.