• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Sports Editor

WCMS cheerleaders place second in nation; fifth in the world

The Woodford County Middle School cheerleaders had a huge week at the Universal Cheerleaders Association's World and National Championships in Orlando. The Tigers' began the competition by placing second in the nation in the Gameday Competition Friday, Feb. 8. "I am not sure I could be more proud of my kids," said WCMS Coach Jessica Coleman. "They held their composure through incredible pressure the whole week, and they never flinched. On Friday, they had to perform twice, then once Saturday and again twice on Sunday and never let up on their energy or positivity. We've been pushing hard since tryouts in April and as a coach you love seeing all that hard work come together and produce memories of a lifetime." According to varsity.com, 18,594 athletes compete annually for a national and world championship in cheerleading. Nine-hundred-fifty-three teams from 29 states and 12 countries competed for their chance at a cheerleading title. Like most cheerleading competitions, timing is everything. The game day division showcases the experience of being on the sidelines, but instead on the competition mat. Routines consist of a band dance, a situational sideline, a time out cheer and the school’s traditional fight song. "It was an incredible feeling when we placed second," said Ashlynn Gampper. "They are calling all of the other schools, but our name was still in the hunt. And when we got into the top three, we knew we had an excellent chance of winning it all. Our hard work paid off, and I am so thankful for my teammates and the coaches.” The Tigers then took on the world in the Gameday division and walked away with fifth-place honors. The Tigers were flawless in their routine with zero deductions from the judges on both days of competition. The Tigers then set their sights on the 2.5-minute routine competition Sunday, Feb. 10. The Tigers once again were on top of their game and had a terrific routine that included stunts, jumps and tumbling. The Tigers advanced to the finals and finished 14th. The trip to Orlando was the culmination of three-hour-a-day for the last 10 months according to WCMS eighth-grader Reese Nickels. "We have worked so hard for this experience in Orlando," said Nickels. We are very proud of ourselves, but the best part was seeing the smiles on our coaches faces. They know how much sacrifice has gone into this season. Our coaches have been supportive, and they are the backbone of this team." The Woodford County High School cheerleaders also competed in the Gameday Competition on Friday but did not reach the finals. The Jackets won the National Championship last season and the first in the school's history.

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