Houston County will be well represented at the state cheerleading finals after two teams finished first in their regions and two others qualified for state during regional competition held Saturday.
Veterans High School (2-AAAA) and Houston County High School (2-AAAAA) both won region and with that comes an automatic bid to the state finals to be held Saturday in Columbus.
Veterans High goes to the competition as the returning state champion, but according to Taylor Liszewski, one of the captains of the team, the pressure is on for the team.
We lost nine seniors, so while half the team won the state championship, the other half is young, said Liszewski. They are talented, but we had to mesh the two together and convince everyone that we have to work to win.
Veterans High also has a completely new coaching staff this year.
While last years training was extremely successful -- with a regional and state championship to show for it -- Liszewski said the team is trying not to dwell too much on last year.
We didnt want it to be, Last year we did this, and last year we did that, Liszewski said. It is not last year. It is this year.
Veterans High scored 281 out of 300 points at regions.
We won state our junior year, so there is the additional pressure for the seniors of wanting to go out on top. It is hard to get to the top, harder even to stay on top, but if you fall off it is even harder to get back to the top. We want to leave a tradition and legacy of being on top for years to come, said Liszewski.
Warner Robins High School and Perry High School finished with high enough scores at the regional competition to qualify for sectionals at the first day of state competition on Friday. The top teams from sectionals go on to the state finals.
Senior Kayeli Wildes, one of the captains for the Warner Robins team, said making it to sectionals was a goal for the Demons.
We have continued to progress all year and have worked really, really hard. We have had a tough season, but we have competed really well, Wildes said.
The Demons went to regionals short three of their competitors; one cheerleader was in the hospital, one had recently torn her ACL and the other was attending her grandfathers funeral.
It has been hard on all of us, but we are trying to look past it and look on the positive side, said Wildes. We have just been building each other up and really talking confidence.
Wildes said being a Demon cheerleader and going to the state competition is a dream come true.
I grew up going to the Demon games, and when I was little I would watch the cheerleaders. I always knew I wanted to be one. So to be here and to live that, it is all I could ask for, Wildes said.
Contact Alline Kent at 478-396-2467 or firstname.lastname@example.org.