BHS, AJ seek state title

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Cheer teams in state field Saturday

By Robert Howey


There’s plenty to cheer about at Buford and Andrew Jackson high schools this week.

Competition cheer squads from both schools will be competing in the Class AA state championship competition at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia on Saturday, Nov. 23.

Both teams qualified for the state championship field at the state qualifier on Thursday, Nov. 14 at River Bluff High School in Columbia.

Sixteen teams from across the state qualified for the state field, with BHS finishing fifth and AJ getting in as the No. 16 team.

Buford’s bid to the state competition is the Jackets seventh appearance in the last eight seasons.

“We’ve had to overcome injuries and we’ve battled the flu with our team lately, so this is a big accomplishment for our team,” said veteran BHS coach Julie Thompson. “Anytime when you can continue your tradition of competing for a state championship, it’s exciting and boosts your program.”

Two weeks ago, the Jackets lost their flyer to a season-ending injury, but they rebounded to score 207 points in the state qualifier.

Chesnee led the Class AA state qualifiers with 267 points, with Liberty a close second with 265.

“Hard work has made the difference for our team to make it back to the state competition,” Thompson said. “We’re also a young team with only two seniors and we have an eighth grader and two seventh graders, but the whole squad has pulled together to help earn success.”

Thompson said the Jackets have an “amazing routine” and they work hard to perfect their presentation.

“We had some drops in the state qualifier, but we were able to get a top five finish,” she said. “They put in a lot of work and they’re in good condition. When we’re out there, we try to take care of every detail.

“We also have two former Buford High cheerleaders, Kristen Snipes and Taylor Shurley, working with us and that’s a big plus for our team,” Thompson said.

Buford competition cheer squad: Seniors: Whitney Hunter, Lindsay Rich. Underclassmen: Ashlyn Bailey, Savannah Beckham, Chelsea Blackmon, Kirsten Blackmon, Kara Bobbit, Abby Chavis, Kelsey Faile, Haley Faulkenberry, Carlie Hill, Aubree Holden,  Brittany Jordan, Madison Lloyd, McKenzie Marvin, Bailey Milhorn, Alexis Rutledge, Brooke Self, Baleigh Snipes, Bailey Starnes, Raney Stogner, Keely Truesdale, Jessica Varner, Ariyana Vincent, Kyndall Wallace, Landon Wallace.

u Andrew Jackson High School, under first-year coach Carla Sciandra, has done well this fall.

“We set as a team goal to make it to the state competition this season and we did,” Sciandra said. “Our girls have really made it a top priority to be at practice, so we can work on our routine and give it as much time as possible.

“I’ve also been impressed with our dedication and team attitude,” she said. “That has really made an impact with this team.”

Earlier in the season, the Andrew Jackson High competition cheer team placed second in a competition at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia.

The team also placed first in a competition at Rock Hill High School.

“I’m so happy for our girls because they have shown a lot dedication and have put forth the effort to receive a chance to compete for a state championship,” Sciandra said.

AJ competition cheer squad: Kendijah Brown, Savannah DeBruhl, Katie Harbin, Kelsey Harbin, Madison Harper, Brittney Harris, Savannah Hayes, Kaitlyn Haynes, Rebecca Hinson, Olivia Johnson, Summer Madden, Derricka Mungo, Karli Nunnery, Alyssa Owens, Sara Phillips, Karley Roberts, Carsyn Saverance, Zane Tolbert, Jessica Truesdale, Caitlyn White. Ragan Todd competed at Riverbanks Zoo and Grace Pittman competed at Rock Hill High.