The Bremerton cheerleading squad has danced and tumble

The Bremerton cheerleading squad has danced and tumbled its way to the state championships.

Second-year coach Kara Lindberg will send 19 cheerleaders — five males and 14 females — to the Comcast Arena in Everett for tomorrow’s 50-team state event.

“This really is a turning point for Bremerton cheer,” said Lindberg, who couldn’t remember the last time Bremerton cheer advanced to state. “This is very exciting because we’ve worked really hard to build the program.”

The Knights qualified for state last weekend with a 200-point performance at Spirit Fest in Oak Harbor. To qualify, teams must post a combined score of 195 points or more in “building,” “jumps and tumbling” and “dance and cheer,” the categories in which judges assign points.

“It’s a matter of qualifying, not beating other teams,” Lindberg said.

Lindberg said it’s gratifying to advance to state for a variety of reasons, but primarily because it’s a reflection of how hard the team has worked.

“They really wanted to prove we have a good cheer program,” she said of the team. “They have worked so hard, being able to take a team to state is very exciting.”

It wasn’t until midway through the season when the five males, including Bremerton boys basketball player Josh Koets, joined the team. Lindberg “had to get them caught up,” but the additions have paid dividends.

And while neither Lindberg nor any of the 19 cheerleaders who will compete — there are actually 22 members on the BHS team, but three won’t make the trip — have ever been to state, the team is embracing the challenge and eager to compete.

“I tell my kids, ‘We’re going to have to learn this together,’” Lindberg said.

The Knights are slated to compete in the “large coed” division, which includes teams with five or more males and up to 20 participants. Area teams Central Kitsap and Klahowya also are scheduled to compete.

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