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Bethel cheerleading team places second in state championship


On March 28, the Bethel Regional High School cheerleading team was declared the second place winner at the Division II State Championship in Anchorage.

"We're still, like, on cloud nine at this moment," said coach Kent Sesop.

The team assumed that they had won the academic award based on GPA, which they often win at state tournaments and had already won at regionals. They weren't expecting to place so high for their cheer performance.

"We actually don't know that we did really good. We feel that we did good," said Sesop. "So we are expecting that we would only get the sportsmanship award, but actually it's the state runner-up award."

Sesop wasn’t expecting to guide his team to such a successful season.

"It was a really nerve wracking experience for me as a coach, because it's my first time [as a cheer coach]," Sesop said. "And it was a last minute decision because we don't have a cheer coach for this year."

Not only had Sesop never coached before, it was his first time entering the cheerleading world. So he let the team guide the way.

"I have three captains: Kylie, Eleanor, and Marian. They are the ones who are deciding what to do and not to do, the routines that they are going to do, and some of the things. I'm just there to support, to watch them, and just say or give feedback to what's going on with their routines," Sesop said.

Just before the tournament, the Bethel Warriors had to change their routine because one of the 12 varsity members was out sick with COVID-19. But the student was cleared before the end of the competition and joined the team for their final performance. Like a good cheer competition should be, it was lively.

"There's a lot of cheering with all cheerleaders," Sesop said. "We really had fun cheering with other cheerleaders. And that's a good spirit, to cheer everyone. We had fun with all the things that we do for regions and that kind of mixed emotion."

Sunni is a reporter and radio lover. Her favorite part of the job is sitting down and having a good conversation.