Two weeks before the Nebraska State High School Cheer & Dance Championship, April Ott, coach of the Morrill High School cheerleader squad broke the news to Katrina Kohel that the other three members of the squad had quit for personal reasons.
She told Katrina that they could still go even though they wouldn’t be competing, but the 17-year-old told her coach that she still wanted to go, and she wanted to compete. “It never really crossed my mind,” Katrina says. “When my coach told me, I told her I would just go by myself.”
When Katrina took the floor at the competition, it was the first time that a cheerleader had ever competed by herself at the state competition, but Katrina was hardly alone. As she performed the modified routine that she and Ott had worked out, she had the support of every person in the arena. “When I got out there and I heard everyone cheering, everything in my mind just cleared at that moment,” she recalls. At the end of it, Katrina managed an eight place finish out of 12 teams in her division and her coach was pleased with her performance. “There was so much confidence and energy that she put into it,” Ott says. “I could not be more proud of her.”