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There’s plenty to cheer about at Andrew Jackson and Buford high schools this week.
The county schools’ cheer squads are set to compete in the Class AA state field after top five finishes in the Class AA Lower State cheer competition.
The Buford girls, in the state field for the eighth time in nine seasons, earned their trip to the state competition at the Bi-Lo Center with a third-place finish at the Class AA Lower State meet at Lower Richland High School on Thursday, Nov. 8.
The Jackets tallied 229 points to finish third behind Waccamaw, 250 points, and Aynor, 235 points.
North Central was fourth with 213 points and AJ followed with 189 points.
“We have a strong team with 14 seniors, so we have the experience of competing in the state competition this week,” BHS coach Julie Thompson said. “This is a talented group.
“We have a good routine and if we hit it, we will do well,” Thompson said.
During the season, the Jackets took first in the Class AA division at Northwestern High School and placed second at the Lake Murray Classic.
Thompson, assisted by Taylor Shurley, said the Buford High squad is one which has improved over the course of the season.
“They keep getting better,” Thompson said. “Even in their bad days, they do well. We’re where we need to be. We will work hard this week to be ready for the state competition.”
Buford High cheerleaders: Hunter Faile, Alexa Adams, Kiara Cloud, Olivia Stogner, Hannah Carlton, Ragen Steele, Kelli Johnson, Breonna Hinson, Savannah Bailey, Kendell Shurley, Lisa Murphy, Carlie Brownell, Chesney Lyles, Lizzie Montgomery, Ariyana Vincent, Kelsey Faile, Makenzie Marvin, Madison Lloyd, Brooke Self, Aubree Holden, Ashlyn Bailey, Raney Stogner, Jessica Varner, Lindsay Rich, Kyndall Wallace, Chelsea Blackmon, Keely Truesdale and Carlie Hill.
AJ High cheerleaders
The Andrew Jackson cheerleaders, who are in their first year of competing under second-year coach Ryan Jones, have done well this season.
“I’m extremely pleased with this group,” Jones said. “We’ve had some injuries and we’re a young team, so this has been a learning experience for our team.
“Our goal was to make it to the state championship competition, so we’re proud that we’ve reached this goal.”
“We’ve worked well as a team,” Jones said. “We’ve been able to learn and grow together. Our girls understand it’s not an individual sport, but all about team. We push each other to do well.”
The Vols, led by senior captains Micah Hayes and Breanna Horne, won the Fort Mill Invitational earlier this season.
“We also have a second-place finish and two third-place showings, so we’ve had some success,” Jones said.
Jones, a former Lancaster High cheerleader under Vicki Robinson, worked two seasons with the Buford High School cheer program before moving on to BHS.
“We’re really happy for Andrew Jackson and coach Jones,” Thompson said. “They haven’t competed in a few seasons and for them to have a top five finish in the Lower State and qualify for the state competition is really a plus. This is a great start for them.”
The AJ cheerleaders: Micah Hayes, Breanna Horne, Dazsa Harris, Brittney Harris, Summer Madden, Grace Pittman, Derricka Mungo, Madison Harper, Sara Phillips, Savannah Dover, Rebecca Hinson, Savannah DeBruhl, Kaitlyn Haynes, Ragan Todd, Assyria Mungo, Mallory Watson, Georgie Lucas, Anna McLemore, Jessica Truesdale, Annalee Dover, Alyssa Owens and Kelsey Harbin
Admission to the Bi-Lo Center Saturday is $10 per person, with youngsters, age 5 and under, admitted free.
From the Lancaster area, take S.C. 9 West to Chester and follow through to S.C. 72 West. Turn left and follow S.C. 72 West to I-26 West.
Follow I-26 West to I-385 North and veer slightly right. Follow I-385 North into Greenville and watch for signs to the Bi-Lo Center.
The Bi-Lo Center is located at 650 North Academy Street in Greenville.