Cheerleading is a team sport. That is, unless your team backs out at the last minute before the state championship competition. What do you do then? Quit? Not if you are Katrina Kohel. Katrina goes to a small Nebraska school, but decided her last opportunity to cheer was going to happen regardless of the circumstances.
When the rest of the team had last minute issues attending the championship, Kohel decided to make it a solo show. What happened next was inspirational for everyone involved. Fox News reports:
In a display of school spirit, a high school cheerleader performed solo at the Nebraska State Cheer and Dance Competition — “go-fight-and-winning” for a crowd which, in turn, cheered loudly for her on Friday, Feb. 17.
“It was definitely out of my comfort zone,” Katrina Kohel, a 17-year-old senior at Morrill High School, told Fox News Digital.
“This is not something I would normally do by any means, but I didn’t want to end my senior year on a low note,” she added. “I guess you could say I wanted to go out with a bang.”
For most high school athletes, cheerleaders included, it very well will be the last time they wear a uniform or are part of a team. Most teenagers don’t have the self awareness or vision to recognize and appreciate that. Katrina Kohel knew this was her last hurrah. She was not going to be denied. Fox continues:
When the rest of her already small cheer squad of four couldn’t make it to the state competition at the last minute, Kohel decided to go at it alone
After discussing it with April Ott, her cheer coach, Kohel moved forward with plans to represent her school at state alone.
“It did take me aback a little bit when she said, ‘I am going to compete on my own,’” Ott told Fox News Digital.
“I said, ‘On your own?’ And she said, ’Yeah.’ So, I went home and thought about it. I thought, ‘Well, why not? The fees were already paid for. We had our hotel rooms. Let’s just go.'”
After three of the four cheerleaders quit the team, Katrina Kohel didn't give up.
— Channel 8 KLKN-TV (@Channel8ABC) February 25, 2023
Why not? Since it was a small squad from a tiny school, there weren’t a lot of intricate routines included anyway. Altering the cheers would take some creativity, but Kohel and her coach made the best of it, and the crowd in attendance appreciated every moment of it. Fox also said:
After Kohel said she was going to compete by herself, she and Ott got to work by revamping the squad’s routine for just one girl to execute.
They also incorporated all the components of the “Game Day” category.
“We just had to take out all of our stunts and make it where the signs were able to be used [by] one person,” Kohel said. “It really wasn’t too difficult to change it, seeing as we already had a small squad.”
“Our school is in a very tiny rural community,” Ott said of Morrill, Nebraska, which has a population of 930.
As the moment of the competition was about to take place, little did Kohel or Ott know that members of the other 115 teams that were competing that day would rally around the Morrill Lions and its lone cheerleader.
Considering the state of the nation, it is reassuring to see young people rally around each other and everyone come together for a change. It is also a very good sign that people like Katrina Kohel exist.
We live in a very soft time when people are far too quick to lay down and quit. This country was made great by people displaying the never-say-die spirit that used to exemplify America. People like Katrina Kohel can restore that spirit, but we have to lift them up and pay attention. Fox concluded:
“Katrina stood up for herself,” Ott said. “I feel like this is a story for everyone. Never quit. Just stand up, just keep going. Whatever the adversities are, just keep going.”
As for her advice to others reading her story, Kohel said to “never back down.”
“You’re stronger than you think you are,” she said.
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