Challengers News · Year In Review (Cheer): A Championship Level Squad


Challenger Cheer knew 2018-19 would be a big year, with a squad featuring eight seasoned seniors. With all the work they had put in, Debonie Denn, Kelsie Babbitt, Maisy Kucera, Maddie Kucera, Shay Clark , Denise Rossi, Olivia Fargason, and Sophie Pena were the faces of Challenger Cheer. They knew right from the outset of summer it would be a special year.

In the fall, the Challengers took first place in fight song at the OCCA all-state championships in Wilsonville. Shortly thereafter, they captured second at a competition in Cottage Grove. The junior and youth squad’s championship finishes at the Southern Oregon Cheer Classic gave fans a glimpse of a bright future for Challenger Cheer. In early February, the high school squad finished third at a very competitive Sheldon Invitational. At that same event, the youth and junior teams finished first.

The the state meet, the performance was all there for Cascade Christian, as the Challenger scored the highest point total. As they were set to perform, there was a glitch with the player that had their music on it. The team knew their routine well enough, they could have actually started without, if need be. A technician told the “not to worry about it.” Because they were delayed in their start, officials ruled that the team was to be given a 10 point deduction for the late start. The penalty dropped the Challengers from first to third.

Though many who follow Challenger Cheer were understandably upset by the ruling, Coach Beckty Abbott took the high road, saying it was more about points and performance than trophies.

The team finished off their season with a trip to nationals in southern California. Competing against a wide range of schools, the Challengers finished seventh in fight song, and just missed being in the all-girl final by three points.

Next season offers great opportunity for those interested in cheer. Hannah Smith, Bethany Baldwin, and Tiana Williams return with some promising newcomers.

To last year’s squad……you are champions in our hearts.