Contact: Geoff Kimmerly
517.332.5046 or
[email protected]

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Feb. 21 – The Buchanan High School student cheering section, "The Herd," has been selected as this year’s Michigan High School Athletic Association “Battle of the Fans IX” winner as the top student cheering section among member schools.

This was the ninth year for the contest, which was organized by MHSAA staff and its 16-member Student Advisory Council.

Student sections from Buchanan, Saginaw Heritage and Zeeland East were selected as finalists from a pool of nine semifinalists after a social media “Challenge Round.” MHSAA staff visited all three finalists for home basketball games during the last three weeks and produced videos of each section for the MHSAA’s YouTube channel. A public vote was conducted on the MHSAA’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds beginning Tuesday and ending Thursday, and those results influenced the Advisory Council vote as members selected the champion.

The Student Advisory Council also based its vote on the following criteria: positive sportsmanship, student body participation, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of the group, section leadership and overall fun.

"I wish we could bottle what The Herd does and give some to every school in the state," said Andy Frushour, MHSAA director of brand management and advisor to the Student Advisory Council. "They have set the bar for student section organization, sportsmanship, constant noise and, most of all, fun.

“And they genuinely want to see other student sections succeed. So we’re excited to see who will take on the champs next year.”

Students were invited during the fall to submit a short video, via YouTube, of their cheering sections in action. From that initial group of applicants, nine semifinalists were selected, also including Caro, Frankenmuth, Hart, Petersburg Summerfield, Reese and Traverse City West. Those semifinalists then were invited to take part in a series of social media “challenges” emphasizing the work of their student sections.

To view finalists’ application videos on YouTube, click http://ow.ly/CtGI50yswmw. For links to stories and MHSAA-produced videos for all three finalists, click http://ow.ly/G0ZM50ysw2v. Buchanan will accept its Battle of the Fans IX championship banner during halftime of the first Division 2 Boys Basketball Semifinal on March 27 at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center. Finalists Saginaw Heritage and Zeeland East also have been invited to Breslin to be honored for this season’s achievement.

Buchanan, on Feb. 11, was the second of three stops on the MHSAA finalists tour.

“We've established a place where you can be yourself. You can be outgoing. You can have fun. And you don't have to worry about anybody judging you," Buchanan senior Carter Aalfs said. "Many people don't get to have an experience like this where you get to be with all your friends, all having a good time, while also supporting your school.”

The Student Advisory Council is made up of eight seniors and eight juniors, who each serve two-year terms. The Council acts as the voice of Michigan's student-athletes; it serves as a student sounding board for the MHSAA's Representative Council, assists in planning Sportsmanship Summits, Captains Clinics and other student leadership events; participates in a yearly focus group about the state of high school sports for Michigan State University's Institute for the Study of Youth Sports and assists with medal ceremonies at MHSAA championship events.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year. 


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