North Cheer Building The Blue Thunder Legacy

By: Olivia Kuss

Belvidere North Cheer holds a name for itself. They are known for high difficulty performances and a higher podium. Literally. Three time state champions and two time state runner-ups.

 How do these athletes keep the fire and desire to win? What keeps you going?  “It’s for the people around me. I have grown up doing this. Growing up with many talented athletes and a team with such a dynamic character and motivation really keeps me going,” said Kayla Hesano (‘21).

A question many multi-state champion athletes who are going for another title often find themselves asking is, “how bad do you want it?” 

North cheer members enjoy coming to practice everyday and want to get better. Normally, once you win a title it’s difficult to go back the next year and find that motivation and passion inside of you to do it all again. It takes a certain type of person. To have a whole team of “that person” isn’t a normal thing. 

Looking back at North’s alumni, they have created this program as a whole. Every year at North’s Coed Challenge there are many young cheerleaders who aspire to be that “Belvidere North Varsity Cheerleader.” These young kids look up to many of them. This is what Belvidere North Cheer is all about. The culture of the team and the character of others around them. 

North cheer continues to build a strong program because we create bonds with our youth.

 “We care about the future of Belvidere North cheer,” said Braxtyn Eubanks (‘21). They hold summer camps that go for three days and they teach kids technique and the spirit of a true cheerleader.

“They truly look up to us,” says Emma Lamarca (‘21). “I remember when I was 6-7 years old going to the Belvidere North cheer camp and I looked at my camp leaders and thought they were the coolest people in the world.”

One week before sectionals, Northlost a main stunter. Kalyb Bennefield (‘22) was one of three alternates who was required to step in at that moment. He learned an entire routine in 24 hours and competed at sectionals. Belvidere North scored their highest score ever with a 97.01. This is the highest score any coed team has ever recieved. The only other higher score was scored by a very talented large all girl team, Lincoln Way East. 

Moving on to state after the big boost at sectionals, North faced many struggles. North had two athletes out with the flu, and one athlete in a car accident. Gratefully, she was ok. Belvidere North went out on day one of state and made a few mistakes. They were going into day two in 4th place out of 10 teams moving onto state finals. Belvidere North performed day two with a one point deduction. This 2019-2020 season, BNorth coed team took second place as state runner-ups. Their toughest competition, South Elgin, took 1st place, and Lockport took 3rd. Buffalo Grove looked great this year. With some tough competition and a diverse season for the Blue Thunder they pulled it together and took second out of 52 coed teams in the state of Illinois.

 “As a senior I truly enjoyed this last run with my dream team. We overcame many obstacles along the way but to me- that second place trophy means more to me than any of the others. That one reminds me of how much it takes. It reminds me of my family,” said Brynn Messenger (‘20)