The Apalachee High School competition cheerleaders stepped up their game Saturday in Commerce.
“We had an awesome weekend,” said AHS coach Meridith Wages. “There was a total of four talented teams in our division on Saturday and we earned third place behind Winder-Barrow.”
Competing in the co-ed division, the Cheer Cats scored their best mark of the season with a 224. A 10-point deduction regarding hand placement made the team’s final score 214, but Wages was still pleased by what her team accomplished.
“Our kids felt confident and focused going in to Saturday,” she said. “We had a great week of practice last week, especially towards the end of the week, with lots of positive energy. Our kids worked hard and it definitely paid off. They were able to feel the payoff on Saturday.”
Following the first two competitions of the season, the AHS coaches made some changes to the choreography.
“We changed the routine to benefit our kids’ skill level,” Wages said. “We now open with the standing tumbling portion of our routine. It is easy for judges to be able to check off our skill level and our kids can go ahead and get it out of the way. We truly wanted to see how this routine would score. Needless to say, the kids were surprised by the results of their efforts. This is one of the best groups I have ever coached. They are eager and willing. They understand and talk the lingo of how our team can score the highest and best benefit as a whole. The coaches and athletes are truly working together and with that should come much success.”
Even with their squad performing well, Wages wanted them to continue working hard and to continue to make improvements.
“The next steps are cleaning up little things with timing of dips and cradles and adding difficulty in our co-ed stunts, pyramid, and tumbling, both running and standing,” the coach said. “My main concern is for the group to perform a cleam routine of skills they can hit. Execution always gets you further than degree of difficulty.”
The team will have two weeks to make improvements, including one while on fall break.
“We are incredibly pleased and proud of our kids,” Wages said. “We are excited for what’s to come of this group.”
Seniors on this year’s team include Drew Hixson, Jordon Tullis, Carlee Brodie, Taylor Walker, Chelsey O’Connell, and Quentin Ladson with juniors Brittany Smith, Madi Massey and Jennifer Newman.
Sophomore team members for the 2012-2013 Cheer Cats are Lee Smith and Matt Hixson with freshmen Courtney O’Connell, Karson Gower, Conner Sims and Morgan Guthrie.