It takes a lot of work, gymnastics, and practice to be successful at cheer these days, as many parents will tell you. And for one girl in Nebraska, a lot of guts and determination. As reported by Yahoo Sports, “ A week and a half before the Nebraska State Cheer and Dance Championships, three freshmen quit the Morrill High School cheerleading squad for personal reasons, leaving just one girl on the team: Katrina Kohel, a senior. She and her coach, April Ott, debated what to do next. Would they make the five-hour trip to Grand Island, Nebraska, to watch the three-day high-school dance-and-cheer competition? Would they sit it out altogether? Neither of those options worked for Kohel. After talking it over with her mom, she told Ott she wanted to make the trip to perform the routine she’d worked hard to perfect all season, even if that meant taking the mat by herself.” “I kind of knew as soon as I found out I was going to be the only one that I still wanted to go out and cheer even if I was going to be myself,” Kohel said. “It wasn’t a hard decision.”

Kohel’s been cheering on her high school’s team for four years. “I’ve put a lot of time into cheer. It’s just always been a part of who I am, so I didn’t want to end on that note. I wanted to go out on a high one,” Kohel said. What she remembers most from the performance is the outpouring of support from the other teams — Kohel recalled that they “almost all stopped to tell me ‘good job’ or they’re proud of me or give me hug.” She came in eighth place out of 12 — Ott and Kohel said they were thrilled about that, as it was the highest the squad had ever placed. She added: “We’ve all got struggles in our lives. We’ve all got obstacles. We’ve all got adversities within us and around us. And just for her to acknowledge that ‘I can do this, Coach, and I’m going to go do it’ has just been an inspiration.”

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