Tigers reach state; finish 4th in semifinals

Posted on 15 February 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely senior cheerleader Makya Harvard couldn’t have been happier with her team’s performance this season as they reached the FHSAA Class 2A state semifinals.

Harvard, 17, of Pompano Beach, finished her fourth year on varsity and third year on the competition team. Even though the team doesn’t have captains, Harvard is one of the leaders on the squad.

I have to make sure everyone is okay physically and emotionally,” said Harvard, who has been a cheerleader since age 4. “I also make sure everyone is on time and able to do what they are supposed to do. The best part for me? When I hit the mat and do what I do.”

More than 50 teams and 800 athletes from Broward, Palm and Miami-Dade counties competed in the Region 4 competition at Coral Springs High School. The top two teams in each division with a raw score of 70 or better earned an automatic entry into the state finals. A qualifying score of 60 or better earned the team a spot in the state semifinals at the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on the campus of the University of Florida.

The Tigers finished ninth in the Large Non-Tumbling division and qualified for the state semifinals. They finished fourth at the state competition during those semifinals and failed to reach the finals at state.

There is an excitement knowing what I am doing, that people want to participate and I am making others happy…” Harvard said. “That’s what cheerleading is about, cheering people up.”

She said the hardest part about the sport is getting fans excited when a team is losing. She said the football season was very difficult.

That happened a lot this year; but, being a leader, you can’t let your emotions get the best of you,” she said. “I have to show my teammates and cheer everyone else up.”

How will that help down the road?

I think knowing that I can put my emotions aside in things that are important to me, and being a leader and taking charge, will help me when I get out in the real world and [with] a real job,” she said. “When I first came in my freshman year, we weren’t too good, and each and every year, we have progressed … We have unity and we go out together now. We have become one big family.”

Harvard said she was relieved that the team qualified for state this season.

It just shows that all of those long nights paid off,” she said. “Even though there were times when our fliers had injuries, we just pushed through.”

Deerfield Beach placed 10th at the regional competition in the Small Non-Tumbling Division and Pompano Beach finished ninth in the Medium Non-Tumbling Division as both squads failed to advance to state.

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