On the night of Oct. 16, the 2013 Tidewater District Invitational Cheer competition gave local cheerleaders a chance to bring it on.
To say the cheer squads ‘bring it on’ seemed fitting, as the moves these teams performed in the King William High School gym seemed to have been pulled straight out of the cheer movie Bring it On.
It has been several years since my cheer days and clearly the skills of the squads in those years have improved drastically. Having flyers twist in a dismount and a few members tumble across the floor appears to be basic moves. Now, flyers are flipping into lifts and entire squad’s are doing back handsprings. Anyone
who still thinks cheerleading isn’t a sport should have been there for Wednesday night’s competition.
There was a new alignment for the cheer competition this year that really impacted Single A cheerleading squads. There were not enough competition cheerleading teams in 1A, both east and west, so the VHSL decided to merge those teams with 2A. This was necessary as based on Virginia High School League rules for classification championship you have to have at least 50 percent or more of schools competing, and the 1A division did not. Of the three newly formed conferences, there were differing numbers of teams participating, so it was determined that each conference would send all but two teams to the regional competition.
Competing in Wednesday night’s competition were, in order of performance, the West Point Pointers, Essex Trojans, Middlesex Chargers, Bruton Panthers, W&L Eagles, Rappahannock Raiders and King William Performance. All of the teams gave great performances and showed that a lot of hard work had gone into creating, practicing and perfecting their routines. With a sharp and advanced routine, the King William Cavaliers took home the first place trophy. Also taking home a trophy, the Bruton Panthers won second place. Both of these teams will move on to the regional competition. In third place, moving on to regionals as well, was the Essex Trojans. Following the decision to send all but two teams to the regional competition, Rappahannock and Middlesex will also be competing at regionals.
It was a big year for the W&L cheerleaders as it was the first they competed since 2009. The head coaches of the Eagles this year are Anne Marie Tomarchio and Kerry Payne, who competed with the Eagles cheer sqaud in the 2007 competition. Payne said the squad was very excited to get back into district competition and show the community all their hard work preparing for the competition. The squad was lead by Captain Whitney Burrell and Co-Captains Kyshae Mason and Alisa Brown. While the Eagle cheer team had been missing from competition for several years it was exciting to see that they came back strong, with more advanced lifts and an increase in tumbling. Also exciting and new for the Eagles was the male participation in the squad. In previous years, the squad has been mostly female but this year there were five guys on the team, four of whom are also W&L football players. Although the Eagles did not win a place in the regionals competition Payne said “ I feel the team did exceptionally well. It’s our first year back competing since 2009 and everyone went out and gave their all. I’m very proud of all of them.”
The Cavaliers, Panthers, Trojans and Raiders will be competing in regionals on Oct. 29 at James River High School in Buchanan. The VHSL State Competition is at VCU on Nov. 9.