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Portage Sports awards Mogadore its “Golden Basketball Trophy”

Portage Sports awards Mogadore its “Golden Basketball Trophy”


The Mogadore High School basketball cheerleaders stand with The Golden Basketball Trophy after accepting it for the school during a presentation on Friday afternoon. Pictured are (from left to right) cheer coach Julie Popio, Cecilia Nelson, Makayla Hummel, Jordin Twiddy, Kenzington Miller, Natalie Lane, Addison Peak, Katie Lane, Sydney Stefan, Elizabeth Terry, Sophia Dewitt and cheer coach Dawn Leymon.

Portage Sports Publisher Tom Nader presented Mogadore High School with the first-ever Golden Basketball Trophy on Friday afternoon in a pep rally presentation coordinated by the Wildcats.

The presentation was made in front of the entire Mogadore High School and Junior High student body, with the Wildcats’ cheerleading squad accepting the award for the school.

The Golden Basketball Trophy was a competition that was presented back in November by Nader to challenge school cheerleaders, spirit clubs and student sections to bring a new level of enthusiasm to high school basketball games for the 2022-23 season.

The parameters for the trophy included the largest and loudest student sections, best and well executed themes and best overall sportsmanship.

The Portage Sports announcement to introduce the trophy closed by saying: “Have fun, be creative and be the reason why your gymnasium is filled with the most school spirit each Friday night!”

The Mogadore cheer team stand with boys basketball head coach Russ Swartz after accepting The Golden Basketball Trophy from Portage Sports on Friday afternoon.
Tom Nader/Portage Sports

The Wildcats’ combination of spirit, themes, pep band and more, were deciding factors in the school receiving the trophy over finalists Crestwood and Waterloo.

“The award is a tribute to the entire student body at Mogadore because of the spirit and pride Wildcat Nation demonstrated throughout the basketball season,” Mogadore principal and boys basketball head coach Russ Swartz said. “As you can tell by the students in attendance on Friday, it was very well received and is something they are proud of. It comes with special thanks to our cheerleaders, pep band, student section and basketball players for creating and winning a successful environment at home and away games. Go Cats!”

Mogadore cheer advisor Julie Popio shared her appreciation, as well as some insight into how her cheer squad works toward maximizing spirit.

“We feel extremely honored and very excited to accept the first Golden Basketball Trophy from Tom and Portage Sports,” Popio said. “Our cheerleaders work hard to come up with creative themes to engage the students, staff and fans. Once we decide on the themes, we think of ways to enhance them with breakthroughs, signs, chants, T-shirts and, of course, bows. The student section helps us execute the themes and bring them to life.”

Popio listed some of the school’s favorite themes from the 2022-23 basketball season included “Soccer Mom and Home Depot/BBQ Dad,” “NFL Commentator,” 3D — Double Digit Dillon” and “Coach Swartz Night.”

“Our cheerleaders dedicate so much time and effort to the school,” Popio said. “Their passion for their school, leading and exciting the crowd, keeping spirits high, keeping motivation up and honoring and respecting the tradition, has really shown through this year. Coach Dawn (Leymon) and I could not be more proud of these young ladies.”

The trophy presented to Mogadore was a gold leather basketball, with four painted panels that included the Portage Sports logo.

The Golden Basketball Trophy will return for the 2023-24 basketball season.

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