West Stokes cheerleaders took center stage at the NCHSAA Regional Cheerleading Championships placing third in the Medium Non Tumble D2 division against 1A and 2A high schools.
“We began in the summer creating a routine that we continued to work on throughout the season and added difficulty as we gained strength. We performed our best during the competition,” said cheer coach Christina Bell. “When they finished I don’t think there were many dry eyes from our families, friends and fans. When they called our name for third, I wasn’t even sad because we left it all on the mat and no one could take that away from us.”
West cheerleaders debuted in the NCHSAA competition in 2013 and finished in eighth place, 25.85 points behind the winners. This year, the Wildcats rose in the ranks coming in a close 1.6 points from second place out of 19 teams in the division.
“We’ve been working very hard to compete at the highest level. Our progress shows we’re a completely different team since beginning this journey. We’ve managed to transform our program into producing strong athletes that are driven to be the best in our sport,” Bell said.
During football season the cheerleaders gained support from Wildcat fans as they practiced stunts during timeouts and quarter changes.
“It takes dedication to compete at this level. We spent countless hours on our individual stunt sequences. Our team always want to be the best they can in front of the crowds,” the coach said.
As the team prepared for competition they worked to weed out their weaknesses and focus on strengths.
“There was quite a bit of coaching going on, not just from me but with each other. We worked through frustration, tears, and disappointment. It all paid off in the end and I am so thankful they were able to experience success. We didn’t drop a single stunt and we couldn’t have prepared any differently,” Bell said.
The day of the competition, 142 teams performed routines, and Bell believes Wests’ cheerleaders stayed focus and relied on their four seniors: Petyon Gaudet de Lestard, Jordan Black, Cassidy Hedgecock, and Danielle Hutchins.
“They’ve really impacted our team. I’ve spread them out in the stunt groups and they lead each group by encouraging and teaching. The team appreciates their dedication to our program,” Bell said. “When my athletes graduate I want them to have experienced working hard, and putting their whole selves into something. I hope they always remember we gave it our all. They’re strong, successful individuals and I want them to have confidence and know they can accomplish anything they put their hearts into.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at (336) 813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.