HERSHEY — Freshman Breianne Kreisler’s short stint atop the Milton Area High School competitive cheerleading squad’s formation won her teammates’ applause this weekend and may pay off for years to come.
Kreisler stepped in and up when sophomore flyer Shelsie Argudo fell and severely sprained her ankle during practice Friday morning, nine hours before Milton was to take the floor in the state championships at the Giant Center in Hershey.
A flyer is the squad member who perches atop her teammates’ hands, often on one leg. Argudo had been Milton’s flyer for eight consecutive competitions, including that in Kutztown in December, where the squad fared so well it qualified for the nationals next month.
“The top girl, who gets all the glory,” Milton coach Traci Ferguson said of the flyer.
While Milton on Saturday failed to qualify for the state finals, cheerleaders were encouraged and, not surprisingly, enthusiastic about how they overcame adversity.
“I think we did really well considering we had a little problem on Friday morning,” senior Chloe Abell said. “We threw it all at Bree and she did what we needed her to do.”
Added senior Erin Sears: “(Breianne) did very well. I think we are all very proud of her. That is a lot of pressure to be put in in one day. She had never done that before. We pulled it off. I think we all did our best.”
Prior to state championship weekend, Kreisler had been a motion bunny, Sears said.
“While everyone else was stunting, she would be up front doing a motion, dancing and signs,” she said.
Milton, which finished eighth in the large-varsity category at the 2013 state championships, would finish no higher than 13th as a small-varsity squad this year. Johnstown High was crowned champion on Saturday, followed by second-place Butler.
Ferguson said there were 47 squads in her team’s division, more than double the number it faced last year.
“The popularity of this event is growing,” she said.
Like her cheerleaders, Ferguson is encouraged that her two-time District 4 champions were able to overcome Friday’s setback and reach Saturday’s semifinals.
“We got farther than we thought we would get,” she said. “(Friday) was such an emotional day. They were very upset on Friday morning, and we had to spend an extra hour and a half figuring out what we could do and take it to the semifinals.”
Give Kreisler credit, Ferguson said.
“I think she did not want to disappoint the seniors,” Ferguson said, “or feel like she was letting them down.”
Milton next competes in the nationals Feb. 8-8 in Orlando., Fla., where the team finished fourth in 2013.
See a photo gallery titled "Milton Cheerleaders at States 2014" at dailyitem.com