Congrats to Traverse City West HS, BOTF X Champion!

Few have studied up for the MHSAA’s Battle of the Fans as much as Traverse City West senior Patrick Guiney did before the start of this year’s BOTF X competition.  He watched all of the finalists’ videos from the first nine years, and many of the semifinalists’ as well, diving in to uncover the best strategies to help he and his classmates deliver the Bleacher Creatures their second BOTF championship.

Of course, he watched all of Traverse City West’s past videos too, trying to see if those past sections had done something well that the current Creatures should incorporate this year, and to figure out where those past sections may have fallen short.

But watching all of those schools, his and others, also left a pretty significant impression about what BOTF, and more generally student sections, should be about.

Read the full story >>>

Support Your 2022 #BOTF Finalist

Now that MHSAA staff have completed their visits to all three Battle of The Fans Contest Finalists, it’s time to engage communities in a final show of support.  Starting at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 15, fans can cast votes for their favorite BOTF Finalist in one (or all) of the six following ways:

  1. RETWEET and LIKE the corresponding tweet from the MHSAA Twitter account
  2. LIKE the corresponding photo via the MHSAA Instagram account.
  3. LIKE the corresponding photo via the MHSAA Facebook Page.
  4. SHARE the photo on your own Facebook Timeline.
  5. Like the vote video on the MHSAA Tik Tok Page.
  6. SHARE the vote video on the MHSAA Tik Tok Page.

Likes, shares, and RTs will be tallied for each Finalist when the vote concludes at 4:00 PM on Thursday, February 17.  The MHSAA Student Advisory Council will consider social media activity when selecting the eventual Battle of The Fans Champion for 2022. The winner will be announced Friday, February 28, at 10:00 a.m.

Best of luck to all three of our Finalists!

School Facebook Twitter Instagram Tik Tok
Buchanan Like/Share RT/Like Like Like/Share
Midland Dow Like/Share RT/Like Like Like/Share
TC West Like/Share RT/Like Like Like/Share

#BOTF X: Meet The Finalists

Two past champions and a first-time applicant have earned opportunities to vie for the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s “Battle of the Fans X” championship recognizing the top high school student cheering section in Michigan, as awarded by the MHSAA’s Student Advisory Council.

Buchanan, Midland Dow and Traverse City West were selected as finalists by the Advisory Council from a group of nine semifinalists that took part in a series of challenges highlighting their sections over the last two weeks.


Jan. 28: MIDLAND DOW at Midland
Feb. 4: BUCHANAN vs. South Haven
Feb. 8: TRAVERSE CITY WEST vs. Ludington

Read more about the BOTF X Finalists on Second Half!


The Battle of the Fans is back for the tenth year, and is ready to highlight the best student cheering sections across Michigan.  To get involved in the contest, follow these steps before the Jan. 8 (noon) deadline.

  1. FILM YOUR STUDENTS.  Get your phone or video camera and film your student section in action on a game night. You can also use footage previously shot this fall.
  2. POST TO TIK TOK.  Edit your video to no more than 3 minutes, and post to Tik Tok. The deadline is Saturday, Jan. 8 at noon.  Remember: you must include at least 30 seconds of discussion about why your school should be named the winner.
  3. TAG ON TIK TOK, and MESSAGE or EMAIL US YOUR LINK. Tag us on your Tik Tok video (@mhsaasports), and then Message us on Tik Tok or email the link to [email protected] so we can verify your entry. We will add all of the application videos to the @mhsaasports account.
  4. SEMIFINALS: Nine schools will be selected as semifinalists, 3 each from Class A, Class B and Class C/D. Semifinalists will need to complete a series of BOTF Social Media Challenges over a two-week time span.
  5. FINAL JUDGING.  Three finalists will be chosen, and the MHSAA team will visit each school on a game night.  The winner will be announced on Feb. 18.
  6. #MHSAABOTF2022. Use the hashtag #MHSAABOTF2022 in your application caption, and whenever you have a great student section idea or when you see an act of great sportsmanship.

>>> Print and post this BOTF Flyer (PDF)
>>> 2021-22 Battle of the Fans Official Rules (PDF)


BATTLE OF THE FANS is back! Who will be the ##MHSAABOTF2022 champion?! 💯 App deadline Jan 8. ##MHSAA ##battleofthefans ##studentsection ##applynow ##fyp

♬ original sound - MHSAA

BOTF Overview

2021-22 BOTF Official Rules

Sportsmanship is an important part of educational athletics, and student cheering sections can be a key factor in creating a festive high school event. The MHSAA Student Advisory Council wants to see your student section in action, and see how you contribute to a fun and positive experience. The MHSAA Battle of the Fans competition will let us all see who has the top student cheering section in Michigan.

Send us videos of your student section making noise on game night. We want to see videos that reflect enthusiasm and togetherness within cheering sections. We want to witness cheers that pump up the atmosphere without disrespecting all involved in the sporting event. We want to see a mixture of school spirit and positivity within student cheering squads. 

Anyone can create the Battle of the Fans video: student section leaders, members of the video production class, yearbook staff, student council or anyone else. We think, though, the best videos will probably use teamwork from the entire student body.

Here’s more about the competition…

Positive sportsmanship, student body participation, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of the group, student section leadership, and overall impression / FUN

Videos should be no more than 3 minutes long, and each video should contain two components. First, you must include at least 30 seconds of a student (or students) explaining how your student section embodies the elements listed in the judging criteria and why your school should be named as the top student section in the state. Second, include clips of your student section in action. Show us how loud, organized, positive, and original you can be. And don’t forget, sportsmanship is a key component to having one of the top student groups in Michigan.

Post your video on Tik Tok and tag @mhsaasports. Also add the #MHSAABOTF2022 hashtag. Then Messshare the video with @mhsaasports. Then Message us on Tik Tok or email the link to BOTF@mhsaa,com so we can verify your entry. Videos must be submitted no later than noon on January 8, 2022.  The MHSAA will save all videos and post to the @mhsaasports Tik Tok account. 

After all videos have been posted the MHSAA Student Advisory Council will choose nine Semifinalists. The semifinalists will be asked to complete at least five social media challenges from a list of 20 that will be posted on Schools will have approximately two weeks to complete the challenges, and then compile video footage of those challenges and post a second Tik Tok video of NO MORE THAN THREE MINUTES.

The MHSAA Student Advisory Council will choose the three Finalists (Jan. 24) based on the initial application and the completion of the challenges. 

Members of the Student Advisory Council and MHSAA staff will visit all Finalists on a home game night. We’ll shoot and edit our own video to document our experience at your school.  We'll also meet with the school's student leaders and write stories about our experiences.  The videos and stories can be found on the MHSAA's Second Half website, and we'll also push to the MHSAA's Tik Tok, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts for others to see.

The MHSAA Student Advisory Council will determine a winner based on the application, the challenges and the visit using the judging criteria listed above. It will also conduct a vote using Tik Tok, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Likes, Shares and RTs to help in its decision making. Council members will not be use the actual number of “votes”, rather it will use the number of votes in comparison to the size of the school; 500 votes from a school with 1,000 students is better than 500 votes from a school with 2,000 students.

The winner will be announced Feb. 18. The winner and two other finalists will be invited to the Division 2 Boys Basketball Semifinals at the Breslin Center on March 25 to be recognized with the winner to receive a championship banner. We will also play a compilation of all three finalist videos on the Breslin Center HD scoreboard during the Boys Basketball Finals in March.

Jan 8 (noon) – Video submission deadline
Jan 10 – Semifinalists announced
Jan 10-22 – Social Media Challenge period
Jan 24 - Finalists announced
Jan 28-Feb 12 – MHSAA/SAC Finalist site visits
Feb 18 – Announce BOTF X Winner
Mar 25 – Winning school and Finalists recognized at Breslin Center

Even if you don’t think you can win or if you have only a few seconds of video, we’d love to see your student section in action!  We want everyone to have fun with this contest!


Congrats to Buchanan HS, BOTF IX Champion!

A standard for Michigan’s high school student cheering sections has been set over nine years of Battle of the Fans.

Carter Aalfs has been part of it almost from the start.

He caught the fever as a fifth grader in 2013, watching an older cousin lead Buchanan’s newly-organized “Herd” to the BOTF II championship. Two years later, now in seventh grade, he stopped into the MHSAA’s finalists interview session with high school leaders to tell us how he already was becoming part of the growing tradition as a member of the younger students’ “Junior Herd.”

He was in the stands for Buchanan’s second BOTF championship in 2018. And this year, as a senior, he was one of the leaders directing from up front, showing his classmates the way to the Battle of the Fans IX championship – a victory that made Buchanan the first three-time winner in BOTF history.

Read the full story >>>

Congrats to North Muskegon HS, BOTF VIII Champion!

North Muskegon senior Kendal Hoppa grew up watching the older kids in her town cheering on their friends at high school games, a sports-based extension of the close-knit community.

And what she’s known about Norse Nation for years, the rest of Michigan now knows as well.

The Nation already was a force when it came to student support. But she and her classmates showed this winter what a dedicated section can become with organization and a bit more intention – and they can celebrate what they’ve built with the Battle of the Fans VIII championship.

Read the full story >>>

Congrats to Buchanan HS, BOTF VII Champion!

Neighbors present and past filled Buchanan’s gym a week ago to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the school’s 1978 Class C boys basketball championship.

In their midst, another champion built its case to make the community proud once again.

Buchanan's "Herd" is our Battle of the Fans VII champion, adding to its BOTF II title and adding another point of pride for a community that turns out big to support its school, and vice versa.

"This all couldn't have been possible without our community, the support of our teachers and staff," Buchanan senior Jessica Lee said. "The businesses put 'Good Luck to The Herd' (on their windows). Just the whole town supported us. We both represent each other in a way."

Read the full story >>>

Congrats to Frankenmuth HS, BOTF VI Champion!

When Shafer Webb and his classmates were middle schoolers, they watched the high school student section turn into a party at every Frankenmuth home game.

Webb's older brother Brennan led the 2012 section that won the inaugural MHSAA Battle of the Fans. And, of course, older brother told younger that no student section would ever measure up to the original champion.

Shafer, and about 300 of his friends, took that as a challenge – and have responded by earning a second championship banner as the first two-time winner in BOTF history.

Read the full story

Congrats to Traverse City West HS, BOTF V Champion!

Cooper Kirby has a lot of people he’ll be thanking today.

First, he’ll celebrate with his classmates, numbering more than 1,600 strong. Then he’ll text Traverse City West’s 2007-08 student senate governor, Chase O’Black, who started the “Bleacher Creatures” cheering section nearly a decade ago.

Then Kirby will call the governors from his first three years at West and thank them for inspiring the current Creatures to carry on the legacy he and the rest of the senior class will soon leave for those who will next take their turns running the show.

And he can’t think of a better way to go out than as part of a Battle of the Fans champion.

Congrats to Dowagiac HS, BOTF IV Champion!

Sydney Brooks always has taken pride in her town, even as classmates talked about how there was nothing to do in Dowagiac and how they couldn’t wait to leave when high school was done.

Turns out there’s a lot of fun to be had in her school’s corner of the southwestern Lower Peninsula, and it’s come full circle for the “Attack” – Dowagiac’s student section and this season’s MHSAA Battle of the Fans IV champion.

Read the full story >>>

Congrats to Beaverton HS, BOTF III Champion!

Beaverton’s “Bleacher Creatures” student section has filled stands for 35 years. But when leaders decided this fall to get more organized, and then met this for the first-ever Spirit Club meeting, they had one goal in mind:

Win Battle of the Fans III.

After falling just short of making last season’s five finalists, the Creatures simply wanted a chance to show what they’ve been doing since their parents were in high school. They got their chance Friday during the MHSAA’s visit for a boys basketball game against Houghton Lake – and showed more than enough to capture the title as the state’s top high school cheering section.

Read the full story >>

Congrats to Buchanan HS, BOTF II Champion!

Josh Money had gone to just about every Buchanan boys basketball game during his first three years of high school, usually one in a semi-full section of stands.

But as the senior “Trophy Buck” stood in front of his school’s newly-created “Herd” for its first theme night on Dec. 7, he hardly could believe his eyes.

Read the rest of the story...

Congrats to Frankenmuth HS, BOTF Champion!

We are going to dance and have some fun.

That was hardly the entire story behind this season’s inaugural MHSAA “Battle of the Fans” champion.

But energy – from the opening tip to the final buzzer and despite a blowout win decided early on – is what set Frankenmuth High School’s fans a notch above four other finalists in this season’s search to find Michigan’s top student cheering section.

Read the rest of the story...

BOTF Contest Information

Past Champions

2020 Buchanan: Story | Video | App
2019 North Muskegon: Story | Video | App
2018 Buchanan: Story | VideoApp
2017 Frankenmuth: StoryVideoApp
2016 TC West: Story | Video | App 
2015 Dowagiac: StoryVideoApp
2014 Beaverton: Story | Video | App
2013 Buchanan: Story | Video | App
2012 Frankenmuth:  Story | Video | App

Buchanan - Story | Video | App
Saginaw Heritage - Story | Video | App
Zeeland East - Story | Video | App

Semifinalist Application Videos:

2018-19 Contest

Buchanan - Story | VideoApp
North Muskegon - Story | Video |  App
Saginaw Heritage - Story | VideoApp

2017-18 Contest

Boyne City - Story | Video | App
Buchanan - Story | Video |  App
Petoskey - Story | Video | App

2016-17 Contest

Finalist Visits:
Boyne City
Traverse City West

YouTube Playlists
All Video Applications
5 Finalists Applications
MHSAA Visits

Helpful Resources:
BOTF VI Official Rules (PDF)
Theme Night Ideas from Sportsmanship Summit (PDF)

2015-16 Contest

Finalist Stories and Videos
Traverse City West
Western Michigan Christian

YouTube Playlists:
All Video Applications
5 Finalists Applications

Helpful Resources: 
Announcement of Champion
What Applicants Taught Us
Theme Night Ideas from Sportsmanship Summit (PDF)

2014-15 Contest

Finalist Stories and Videos
St Johns

YouTube Playlist:
All Video Applications
Meet the 5 Finalists
MHSAA Visits

Helpful Resources
BOTF IV Finalists Announced
Theme Night Ideas from Sportsmanship Summit (PDF)

2013-14 Contest

Finalist Stories and Videos
Traverse City West
Tribute to all Applicants
Finalists Announced

YouTube Playlists:
All Video Applications
Meet the 5 Finalists
MHSAA Visits

Helpful Resources & Info:
12 Tips From BOTF I & II (PDF)
Theme Night Ideas (JPG)

Social Media
#BOTF on Twitter
YouTube: What is Battle of the Fans?

2012-13 Contest

Coverage of the Winner
Championship Announcement
Championship Banner

YouTube Playlists
All Video Applications
Meet the 5 Finalists
MHSAA Visits

Finalist Stories and Videos
Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard
Vandercook Lake
Zeeland East
Tribute to All Applicants

Social Media
Vote on Facebook
#BOTF on Twitter
YouTube: What is Battle of the Fans?
YouTube: Sportsmanship Summit Review

2011-12 Contest

Coverage of the Winner
Championship Announcement
Championship Banner

YouTube Playlists
All 19 Applications
The Five Finalists
MHSAA Official Visits

Finalist Stories and Videos
Grand Rapids Christian

From the Student Advisory Council

4 Simple Guidelines for a Great Student Section 

1. Focus on your school. Encourage and direct comments to your team only. Don’t target individuals on the opposing team. Be loud, and be your team’s “6th man”.

2. Promote a positive atmosphere. Cheers should uplift the crowd and get everyone involved. Be aware that children and parents are there, too.

3. Get organized. Select a group of leaders. Promote the togetherness of the entire student body. Organize theme nights. Develop your own original cheers.