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The Buford High School cheer squad capped its stunning season with one final sweet surprise for coach Julie Thompson.
The Class A-AA Lower State champion Jackets entered the state competition with a goal of a top-five finish.
The BHS team responded in impressive fashion, placing a best-ever third in the state on Saturday at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville.
“I’ve said all season these girls just keep surprising me with one outstanding effort after another,” Thompson said. “They went out and did it one more time. Our team was impressive.”
Thompson wasn’t quite sure what to expect after the team’s warm-up prior to its performance early Saturday afternoon.
“It really didn’t go that well in our warm-up,” she said. “It was pretty bad.”
The 22-member Jackets’ team was different when it hit the floor at 12:10 p.m. for its 2:30-minute segment.
“I just told them to dig deep and they reached down and got it done,” Thompson said. “It was a clean routine with no drops.”
The Jackets totaled 223 points to finish third behind Liberty, which won with 239 points. Liberty had placed third in the Upstate field the week prior at Dorman High School of Spartanburg.
Chesterfield and Crescent, the Upper State champ, tied for second with 233 points each in the 12-team state field.
Chesterfield High School, with 214 points, placed second behind Buford in the Class A-AA Lower State competition at Sumter High School on November 10.
In the state field behind BHS, Gilbert, Mid Carolina and Woodruff tied for fourth with 222 points each.
Pendleton was fifth at 216, followed by Palmetto, 213; Lewisville, 203; Waccamaw, 202; and Chapman, 190.
“Our goal was a top five and we made the top three, which was the best ever for our school,” Thompson said. “These girls made me proud. They work hard and take pride in what they do.
“After losing 11 seniors from our 2006 squad, we figured it would be a rebuilding season, but these girls wanted to continue the tradition of excellence we’ve set and they did so in a record-setting way.”
In addition to the Class A-AA Lower State title, Buford won its second straight Conference VIII-AA championship last month when it defeated Cheraw High School at the Lancaster High School gym.
BHS placed second at the Bearcat Invitational at Rock Hill High School and was the runner-up at the Lake Murray Classic at Dutch Fork High School. The Jackets finished sixth at the Debbie Rogers Classic at the University of South Carolina’s Colonial Center.
Thompson said she was grateful for the team’s suppor
“The support and interest we received was outstanding,” she said. “I feel our girls created some excitement out here.”
Buford High assistant principal Kevan Elliott saluted the team.
“These girls produced an outstanding season and it says a lot about them and coach Thompson since they had lost a large number of senior teammates from last season,” Elliott said. “They worked hard and were determined and that helped them to surpass their state goal.”
The BHS squad: captains Brittany Christian, Tori Porter, co-captains Paige Sistare, Katelyn Wrobel, Starr Blankenship, Jennifer Brasington, Alex Faile, Danielle Flynn, Brittany Hill, Randi Hollis, Jessica Keye, Brittany McCants, Sara Moseley, Briana Parker, Taylor Pressley, Ashley Snipes, Cierra Stinson, Michelle Stinson, Jessica Turner, Laura Watterson, April Watts, Whitney Williams.