Katrina Kohel was determined to represent her school, located in tiny Morrill, Nebraska
A high school cheerleader from Nebraska competed at the state championships by herself after her teammates quit less than two weeks earlier.
Katrina Kohel, a senior at Morrill High School in tiny Morrill, Neb., was determined to compete at the state competition, despite learning that three other cheerleaders quit the team for personal reasons a week and a half earlier, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Her coach told her they’d still go to the competition and watch more than 2,700 girls and 225 teams in action, but Kohel had other ideas.
“I want to go to state, and I will cheer by myself,” she told her coach, according to the outlet.
With her coach’s help, the determined teen revamped her routine and performed in the Game Day Class D division on Feb. 17.
Despite her mind “going blank” just before her routine, Kohel’s positive attitude carried her through the experience of performing solo before the crowd.
“They are going to support me and cheer me on,” she said she thought at the time. “Even if I mess this whole thing up, I will be OK. I’m doing this by myself and no matter what, it’s going to be OK.”
Her dedication soon proved worthwhile: The crowd loudly supported her efforts, her team wrote on Facebook.
“She did it! What an amazing routine!” the squad wrote. “Thank you to each one of our cheer friends, family and fans far and near who packed the stands and cheered with Katrina! The crowd was booming with callbacks on her chants and cheers! Her jumps were soaring through the air and her school spirit was contagious.”
“I probably had the loudest crowd involvement there,” she told the World-Herald. “Everybody was cheering with me, and it was an amazing feeling.”
And despite not being able to be judged the same as other competitors, she still finished eighth out of 12 squads, which is the highest her team has placed in three years.
“I feel really proud of myself for knowing I can do it and not giving up,” she said after the meet. “Just getting it done.”