Here is an overview of high school competitive cheerleading in the Lansing area. This reflects information submitted by area coaches.
Coach: Candace Heskitt (9th season)
Top returning athletes: Hannah Heinritz (sr.), Emma Mollitor (jr.), Lizzy Vanderwoude (jr.), Kenzie Smith (jr.), Macy Hendershot (jr.)
Other contributors: Brianna Randall (jr.)
Outlook: The Panthers have a younger team that Heskitt believes has incredible potential and skill. She’s looking forward to a fun season of DeWitt building on its tradition as its young athletes grow into their potential.
Last season: 3rd in CAAC White
Coach: Alex Drouillard (4th season)
Top returning athletes: Blaney Bell (sr.), Alex Provost (sr.), Brianna Garrett (so.), Emma Hancock (so.), Savannah Sparks (so.), Rebecca Hart (so.)
Other contributors: Chloe Smith (sr.), Ashley Render (so.)
Outlook: Drouillard believes this could be a breakthrough season for the Gladiators, who have a number of returning athletes who she said are competitive and passionate toward the sport.
Last season: 1st in CAAC White
Coach: Sue Horak
Top returning athletes: Faith Kulang (sr.), Dakota Hart (sr.), Erica Oneil (sr.)
Other contributors: Hailey Stroud (sr.), Nicole Lischkge (jr.), Paige Lorichon (jr.), Lindsey Anderson (so.), Savannah Miller (so.), Alyssa Collins (so.)
Outlook: The Comets advanced in the MHSAA state tournament for the first time in program history and broke multiple school records last season. Grand Ledge wants to build off that success and capture its second league title this winter. The Comets have shifted back to the CAAC Red this season and hope to challenge DeWitt and Mason for the title.
Coach: Gretchen Gibbs (1st season)
Outlook: The Rams are trying to find success in their first season of competitive cheer competition this winter.
Last season: 1st in GLAC
Coach: Kim Martin (22nd season)
Top returning athletes: Riley Eggers (sr.), Kendall Rooks (sr.), Tequila Bautista (sr.), Trista Shattuck (sr.), Emily Turashoff (sr.), Taylor Mac Kenzie (sr.), Sierra Stoepker (sr.)
Outlook: The Vikings are chasing an eighth straight league championship this winter. Eggers and Rooks are returning all-conference performers for Lakewood, which is also in pursuit of a fourth trip in five years to the state finals.
Last season: 2nd CAAC Red
Coach: Angela Boerkoel (5th season)
Top returning athletes: Miguella Combs (sr.), McKayla Keller (jr.), Alexis Bahl (sr.), Makayla Hostetler (sr.), Brianna Bui (jr.), Mackenzie Strickland (so.), Jayden Matteson (so.), Leona Ahmeti (so.)
Other contributors: Mykenzie Lochner (sr.), Charlese Dumond (so.), Marcyna Montalvo (jr.), Shyanna Ferman (fr.)
Outlook: Boerkoel sees potential for a strong season for Mason, which has four seniors and several other key returners. The Bulldogs want to capture their first league title since 2012, win their district and return to the state meet this season. Boerkoel and the Mason coaching staff is excited to see this team and the program take big leaps this season.
Coach: Trudy Schneider (14th season)
Top returning athletes: Mylissa MacKenzie (sr.), Sarah Landes (sr.), Faith Snyder (sr.), Emily Suggs (sr.), Sydney Nichols (sr.), Mailey Cornell (sr.)
Outlook: The Trojans have high goals this season and Schneider said the team will fight hard to conquer its goals.
Coach: Lori Dey (2nd season)
Top returning athletes: Teaghan Thomas (sr.), Julia Wright (sr.), Sydney Lerma (sr.), Juli Lerma (sr.) Jaszmyn Brown (sr.), Sydney Maldonado (sr.), Zahria Crook (sr.), Kyra Moore (sr.)
Other contributors: Nadia Arroyo (jr.), Ceciliana Esquivel (jr.), Serenity Collins (so.)
Outlook: Thomas is a fourth-year varsity performer and a returning all-league selection. Dey said last season was about laying the foundation for a successful program. This winter, Waverly hopes to turn heads again.
Last season: 5th
Coach: Kelly Loria (4th season)
Top returning athletes: Audrey Braman (so.), Ellyse Redman (so.)
Other contributors: Wilma Fjader
Outlook: The Hornets are a young team, but Loria believes there is plenty of talent on the roster. Braman and Redman are both second-year varsity performers and are Williamston’s captains, while Fjader is an exchange student from Finland that also adds talent to the roster.