Magnolia, Cinco Ranch bring home city's first state cheer titles
The Magnolia Bulldogs and Cinco Ranch Cougars made school history a few weeks back winning the 2020 UIL Class 5A and Class 6A State Spirit Championships.
They not only made school history but regional history, becoming the first teams from the Greater Houston Area to win State Cheer since its inception.
"We were so pumped that we both won it," Magnolia coach Courtney Riddell said. "We both nailed it and put Houston on the cheerleading map."
VYPE caught up with Riddell, going inside the huddle with the Bulldog state champs.
Courtney Riddell has been about the "Cheer Life." She was a competitive cheerleader for Texas Lone Stars back in high school. She cheered at Tomball High before making the team at Blinn Junior College. Upon graduation, she cheered at Texas State, where she won a UCA World Title.
She then became the coach at Class 3A Coldspring-Oakhurst, where she led her team to a second-place finish in state four years ago. The past two years she's been at Magnolia, where they finished eight and seventh, respectively.
"I knew when I was at Coldspring that I wanted to get to a big school," she said. "I hopped right on the opportunity. I've been told it takes three years to build your program. This is Year Three."
This season, however, had one defining turning point.
"We actually faced a little adversity at the beginning of the year," she said. "We were lacking that team-bonding moment. I called our football coach/AD Craig Martin and he brought us in for a pep talk. We took what he said and came back the next day on fire.
"I really took his pep talk to heart. I needed to be more positive. I needed to lay out our plan better. I changed my attitude. I could also see very quickly how hard the girls started working for each other."
With Top 10 finished the past three years, the Bulldogs were close.
"We started to think, why not us?" she said.
Their new manta became a rallying cry – "When Sisters Stand Shoulder to Shoulder, What Stands a Chance Against Us."
"We started practicing over the summer, went to camp and during the school year we would go Mondays and Wednesdays after school," she said. She also credits her assistant Kelly Helton. "We would even do some Saturdays leading up to state. Everyone bought in. They showed up ready to work."
Hard work paid off as the 'Dogs won the Class 5A state title and earned the highest score in all classifications for "Band Chant."
"When we got back to school, I don't think that everyone understood what we just did," she laughed. "Now that we've done it, we are already thinking what we are going to do next year."