Santiam Christian looked impressive in its victory over 2018 state champion Central Linn in the 1-3A division.
Santiam Christian looked impressive in its victory over 2018 state champion Central Linn in the 1-3A division.

A few cheerleading teams dipped their toes into the competition waters Jan. 5, but most teams around the state opted to debut their state routines during the weekend.

With teams nearly evenly split between the Pacer Invitational in Lake Oswego and the RedHawk Rumble in Albany, the predictions for anticipated upcoming match-ups began swirling before the last trophy was even handed out Saturday evening. 

Headlining the list of incredible storylines in the 1-3A division was Central Linn suffering its first defeat of the season to an emerging Santiam Christian of Corvallis. The Eagles, who won 10 state titles in the late 90’s and early 2000s, beat the reigning state champions by 4.9 points.

Meanwhile, in Lake Oswego, Yamhill-Carlton remained undefeated after beating a Rainier team that hasn’t competed since winning state in 2013 by only 0.6 points.

The absence of Delphian (second in state in 2018) and Cascade Christian (third), both of whom will be competing in the coming weeks, leaves many wondering if this is will be the most competitive 1-3A division in years. 

In the 4A ranks, both Sweet Home and Newport looked impressive, with the Huskies narrowly defeating the Cubs by one-tenth of a point. With the returning state champion Henley, moving to the Small Coed division, this matchup should only get more exciting in the coming weeks. Both teams had multiple deductions on Saturday, with Sweet Home accruing 2.0 points in deductions and Newport amassing 3.0 of their own. 

Because South Albany hosted the competition this past Saturday, the returning 5A champions opted for an exhibition of their state routine in front of their home crowd and several other interested onlookers.

West Albany and Ridgeview used the opportunity to not only compete but also scout the RedHawks who had previously only competed with the partial routine back in December. With the Bulldogs going on to win at South Albany, and a convincing victory up north by Wilsonville at Lakeridge, a four-way battle for the top spot appears to be on the horizon in the 5A division. 

The exit of perennial top-five placer Lakeridge to the Large Coed division, coupled with returning state champion Westview taking the weekend off, leaves plenty of questions to be answered in the 6A division.

One thing is for certain: Newberg, which returns to the field after winning the last two state titles in the Small Coed division, showed it is looking to reclaim 6A supremacy after an imposing 25-point victory at the RedHawk Rumble. The Tigers have won six straight state titles over multiple divisions since getting second to Westview in 2012. 

In the Small Coed division, David Douglas advanced to 2-0 on the year with a win over a rising Mountainside team of Beaverton. The Mavericks brought amazing energy and skill to the mat, especially for a school that just opened its doors in 2017 and won’t graduate its first senior class until the spring of 2020.

Henley’s win at South Albany over Crescent Valley and Lebanon showed the Hornets, who have an enrollment of 660, can compete with the much larger schools, who normally dominate the coed divisions. 

Rounding off the weekend,, was the state’s Large Coed division. Both Thurston and McMinnville looked solid in their 2019 debuts. Each team won convincingly on Saturday.

The anticipated return of 2018 state champion Tualatin and the emergence of Lakeridge should set up a captivating battle for the top spot as we near the state championships in February. 

Next weekend provides a rare three competitions on the schedule. David Douglas and Newberg host events Saturday and West Linn offers a Sunday competition.

Be sure to visit and register for the state championships before the 4 p.m. deadline Wednesday.