The standard for success is set very high for the Winder-Barrow High School competition cheerleaders.
Each season the team members and coaches expect to be among the state’s elite. The 2012 season is no exception.
The Cheer Doggs capped another successful fall Saturday in Columbus by earning the state runner-up trophy for the Class AAAAA co-ed division.
“I felt the performance was the best it has been all year,” said coach Jerrie Hulsey. “You want to peak at state and I felt like that is what we did.”
WBHS compiled 284 points from the judges Saturday. It was the high mark for this season and also topped the team’s state championship score from 2011. The Cheer Doggs received scores of 95, 95 and 94.
“We had a little bobble in our pyramid,” Hulsey said. “The boys underneath dipped one count early and I felt our jumps are really what cost us the championship. We lost one or two points from each judge in jumps. Having said that, for this team of five returning members to be crowned co-ed state runner up is unbelievable.”
With a strong junior varsity and middle school program working to contribute one day at the varsity level, Hulsey said the transition is often not difficult when the athletes move up.
“The team took the floor like they owned it,” Hulsey said. “The crowd was screaming for them because we have such an entertaining routine. It still gives me chill bumps to think about it today.”
Ola High School of Henry County edged WBHS by four points for the state title.
“I do feel like Ola deserved to win,” Hulsey said. “They were flawless. I am always OK getting beat by a better team. To look at where this team’s season began (in 6th place at the first meet) and where they ended up is a testament to their hard work and dedication.”
The Cheer Doggs were four points ahead of Chestatee and 11 points ahead of Peachtree Ridge. Apalachee and Dacula were the next top teams.
“The way the new score sheet is laid out I knew if we could perfect our skills we could be in the hunt again given the skills these kids possessed,” Hulsey said. “I just wasn’t sure how such a young team would handle the pressure. It was ironic Saturday because at all the previous meets and sectional our warm up was perfect but our performance was not. Saturday our warm up was not perfect but our performance was.”
The WBHS coach, who started the program from scratch, admits she is not happy unless her team wins the ultimate prize. However, Hulsey said she is proud of this year’s squad.
“I feel like we have won the state championship,” Hulsey said. “This team had only one senior in Cameron Cooper. It was his first year on the floor. I could not have asked more of Cameron. He led by example. From where he started skill wise to where he ended up was awesome. He is a very quiet but intense young man. This team needed that intensity. He was one of the mains in the co-ed and I don’t usually let a first year member have that much responsibility, but Cameron had the skill and concentration to handle it.”
Already, thoughts are turning toward 2013 when the Cheer Doggs hope to be back on the top of the mountain.
“We will be graduating one senior and I believe there is at least one, maybe two, who will not tryout again,” Hulsey said. “Our underneath programs are stacked. There are a couple of really talented JV athletes and middle school athletes that we are looking forward to seeing how much they improve this summer. We can’t wait.”
A total of 32 co-ed teams competed for the title.