BHS Lower State Champ

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Jackets earn state bid with LS, region titles

By Robert Howey





The Buford High School varsity cheerleaders produced a court coup Thursday night at the Sumter High School gym.

The Jackets captured a pair of championships en route to earning a coveted bid to the upcoming state championship cheer competition.

Buford topped a 10-team field with 210 points to capture the Class AA Lower State championship and a bid to the state championship cheer competition Saturday at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville. BHS, winning its second Lower State title in four years, also claimed the Conference IV-AA cheer crown.

Cheraw, which placed third overall with 204 points, was the only other Conference IV-AA team in the Lower State field at Sumter.

“This was a sweet deal,” said Buford High cheer coach Julie Thompson. “It’s great when you can win the region and Lower State at the same time. It was a good day for Buford cheerleading.”

The Jackets, in their two and a half-minute routine, didn’t have their best overall score of the season, but Thompson said it was the best that night.

“We had a few bobbles and weren’t as clean as we were when we had a 220 score at Nation Ford in an earlier competition this fall,” she said. “I thought we had a lot of energy and our conditioning was a key factor.

“Our girls train real hard and they’re in good shape,” Thompson said. “It helps when you have strong girls. That’s an action-packed two and a half minutes and you really have to be prepared.”

The Jackets were judged on a host of factors, including dancing, stunts, tumbling, execution and creativity with the routine.

“I feel we have a real solid routine and the girls like our routine,” she said. “It really feels good to win.”

Buford was followed by Aynor, 206; Cheraw, 204; Waccamaw, 202;  Chesterfield, 202;  Hanahan and Marion with 187 apiece.

Buford assistant principal JoAnn Garris said she was proud of the Jackets’ winning effort.

“Those girls work hard and they have a great deal of pride in the way they perform,” Garris said. “We’re proud of them and the recognition is wonderful for our school and community.”

Thompson said the Jackets’ effort was rewarded.

“We put in a lot of time, energy and effort,” she said. “I push these girls and they are proud of their cheer program. Success breeds success once you get the taste for winning.”

Thompson said the work of the BHS assistants, Ryan Thompson and Jennifer Brasington, was also pivotal.

She added a word of thanks to Buford Elementary School principal Sandra Jones-Izzard.

“Mrs. Jones allows us to use the multi-purpose room and that gives us a place for our team and we don’t have to worry about another team for court time,” she said. “We’re also grateful for the fans we had a Sumter, which is a tremendous boost for our team when you have outstanding support.”

The Jackets have posted a stellar season in competing this fall.

Buford won the Class AA division at the Lake Murray Classic at Dutch Fork High School, the AA title at the Silver Fox Invitational at Dutch Fork and the AA crown at the Falcon Invitational at Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill where it posted its 220 score.

The BHS team placed sixth at the Dorman Cavalier Cheer Classic in Spartanburg and also had a sixth-place effort at the Debbie Rogers Cheer Classic in Columbia.

The Jackets captain is senior Cierra Stinson and the co-captain is senior Alex Faile.

The Buford High School team includes Alexa Adams, Adrianna Baker, Savannah Bailey, Carli Brownell, Alex Faile, Hunter Faile, Marissa Helms, Kelli Johnson, Chesney Lyles, Courtney Moody, Sara Moseley, Lisa Murphy, Jessica Roberts, Jessica Rossi, Kendall Shurley, Taylor Shurley, Ashley Springs, Cameron Smith, Regan Steele, Olivia Stogner, Cierra Stinson and Keely Truesdale.