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The Buford High School cheerleaders didn’t garner any gold or silver in the Class AA state competition Saturday in Greenville, but BHS cheer coach Julie Thompson said she was proud of the Jackets’ effort.
Buford placed sixth in the elite state field with 227 points.
“That state field is stiff competition, but I felt we did well,” Thompson said. “We needed a perfect performance, but didn’t quite get there.
“When you look at the final finish in the top five all but one team has finished as a state champion or state runner-up in the last few years, so we were up against a tough field, but we gave it a good shot.”
Liberty, with 278 points, captured its sixth straight state title.
Palmetto followed with 269 points to take the state runner-up.
Chesnee, 253, Mid Carolina 250, Pendleton and Buford 227 rounded out the Class AA top six.
“We showed improvement over last year after finishing in 13th in the state,” Thompson said. “This is a big step for our cheer program to compete in the Upper State and finish as high as we did. We made progress.”
The Jackets captured the Region IV-AA title for the second straight season and were sixth in the Class AA Upper State field at Dorman High School to qualify for the state competition.
During the 2011 season, BHS won the Nation Ford cheer competition and placed second at Fort Mill and the Lake Murray Cheer Classic at Irmo High School.
Buford tied for fifth in the Class AA field at the prestigious Dorman Cavalier Cheer Classic and was sixth in the Class AA field at the annual Debbie Rogers Classic in Columbia.
“Our theme for this season was push,” Thompson said. “”If you want to move forward, you have to push harder. You have to push each other to get better. We pushed extra hard this season.”
The 2011 BHS squad featured only three seniors and Thompson opted not to have captains this season.
“We worked well as a cohesive team and there was a more concentrated effort,” she said. “Our seniors did provide strong leadership.”
Buford High School assistant principal JoAnn Garris said she was proud of the Jackets’ cheerleaders.
“They were awesome,” said Garris, who attended the state competition in Greenville on Saturday. “Their performance was wonderful. They had smooth transition and sharp movements. It’s been a great season for them. It’s a year-round effort for the cheerleaders. They compete and support the teams and do an outstanding job.”
Thompson said the team is looking to the future.
“With a young team, this is something to build on,” she said. “Our girls are never satisfied and they know we have built an outstanding tradition of cheer competition at Buford High School. When they came off the mat Saturday, they were already thinking about next season and what they had to do to take the next step.”
Thompson, who noted BHS was in the state cheer field for the seventh time in eight years, said the Jackets are grateful for the support.
“We had a great group of fans to travel with us all season,” Thompson said. “We had our biggest crowd at the state competition. It was nice to see that support and it inspired our girls.
“The support makes an impact,” she said. “We also appreciate the support of coach Jeff Hinson and principal Sandra Jones-Izzard at Buford Elementary School. They allow us to use the multi-purpose room at the school and it makes a big difference and helps us with our practices.”
The BHS squad includes Courtney Moody, Jessica Roberts, Cameron Smith, Kelli Johnson, Alexa Adams, Chesney Lyles, Brook Self, Keely Truesdale, Kendell Shurley, Ashlyn Bailey, Olivia Stogner, Carli Brownell, Raney Stogner, Breonna Hinson, Carlie Hill, Katy Funderburk, McKenzie Marvin, Savannah Bailey, Ragen Steele, Kyndall Wallace, Chelsea Blackmon, Hunter Faile, Lisa Murphy, Brittany Jordan, Lizzie Montgomery, Jessica Rossi, Morgan Lee, Hanna Carlton and Libby Hopkins.