Buchanan named Battle of the Fans finalist again

BUCHANAN — If there is such a thing as a dynasty in the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Battle of the Fans, it would have to be Buchanan’s The Herd.

Already a two-time champion (2013 and 2018), Buchanan was named one of three finalists for this year’s competition. The Herd has been a finalist a total of five of the six years the MHSAA has had the Battle of the Fans.

Also named finalists for the 2019-20 competition were Saginaw Heritage and Zeeland East. Heritage was a finalist last year along with Buchanan, while Zeeland East reached the finals in 2013.

“Some real heavyweights are in the final three this year,” said Andy Frushour, MHSAA director of brand management and advisor to the Student Advisory Council. “Buchanan has been a finalist in six of the last seven years for good reason — The Herd is a genuine part of the school and community culture. Heritage is in the finals for the second straight year after coming up just short of getting the banner in 2019. Zeeland East is a finalist for the first time since 2013, but the west side of the state is known for having great student and community support at games. The Chix think this might be their year.”

The MHSAA will make a visit to Buchanan for its BCS Athletic Conference Red Division game against Bridgman on Friday night.

The Herd senior leader Jade Smith knows how much the students and the school put into preparing for the competition.

“Our student section works really hard each year,” she said. “We are proud to be able to show our love for our sports and clubs.”

Senior Herd leader Rose Johnson said everyone also gets excited to make the video that is part of the entry process.

“I really look forward to making our BOTF video each year,” she said. “It’s really fun and makes our Friday night games and themes very exciting.”

Senior Carter Aalfs cannot wait to see if Buchanan can hoist another championship banner.

“We put in so much time and effort into this competition,” he said. “All of our hard work is paying off, and I’m excited to see how far we can go.”

Members of the MHSAA staff will visit all three finalists over the next three weeks, producing articles about each section and videos of those sections in action, all to be published on the MHSAA’s Second Half website, secondhalf.mhsaa.com.

The winner will be selected by another vote by the 16-member advisory council, with consideration given to a public vote on the MHSAA’s social media sites. This year’s winner will be announced Feb. 21 and recognized March 27 at the Breslin Center.

Semifinalists were required to complete 10 challenges via their social media channels. Five mandatory challenges focused on contest criteria: positive sportsmanship, student body participation, school spirit, originality of cheers, organization of the group, student section leadership and overall fun. Semifinalists then selected five elective challenges (taken from a list of 15 opportunities).

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