What would you do if all of your teammates quit on you? Well, one cheerleader from a Nebraska high school decided to continue on with the competition after all of her squad members quit on her. Instead of giving up and going home, the teen follows through with her commitment to compete in the state’s cheer competition. As a senior in high school, the brave cheerleader wanted to show up and compete on the statewide stage along with the other Nebraska high school cheer squads that traveled hundreds of miles to perform in front of the judges.
Prior to the state competition for the Nebraska State Cheer and Dance Championships, three cheerleaders, all freshmen, quit the Morrill High School cheerleading squad for personal reasons. The squad was never a large one, and only high school senior Katrina Kohel was left to perform. Although she had just a week and a half until the state championship, she refused to give up and decided she would compete for solo to represent her high school and fight for the state championship.
After the majority of the cheerleading squad quit, Kohel and her coach April Ott tried to figure out what to do. They didn’t want to give up their dream of competing in the state championship. They had to decide if they were going to travel five hours from home to Grand Island, Nebraska, for three days of cheerleading competition among the high schools in the state.
Kohel didn’t want to give up. After talking to her mother, the high school senior approached coach Ott and told the leader that she wanted to compete even if it was only going to be her up there on the stage. Kohel had worked hard to perfect the cheerleading routine throughout the entire season. She didn’t want to give up, even if it meant that she would have to perform solo in front of the entire state of Nebraska.
“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 had been a cheerleader for her high school all four years of school. She had dreamed of being a cheerleader since her parents took her to a high school sports game as a little girl.
“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. “For that to come true, I didn’t want to end it just by going to watch state. I wanted to compete.”
Kohel and Ott got to work re-choreographing the routine, which was designed for four cheerleaders.
“She was completely confident the whole week that we practiced,” Ott said. “It was just 100% confidence, and she just owned it.”
Kohel was the first solo performance at the state championship.
Ott said she was “super proud of (Kohel) for wanting to finish what she started.”