Inside today’s edition, the Barrow Journal looks at the county’s first 100 years.
During that century there have been many accomplishments in the athletic arena as well. Local sports historian Hal Miller helped the paper compile a list of championships as well as other standout athletes in various sports.
One of the more interesting championship stories has to be the Winder-Barrow High School competition cheerleading program. Coach Jerrie Hulsey, who retired after this past school year, built a dynasty, earning five state championships dating back to the 1990s.
How dominant was the program, even during the early years, under Hulsey’s leadership? Consider this: WBHS was so far ahead of the competition cheerleading programs at other schools that the Georgia High School Association decided to redo the way the schools were classified.
You see, Hulsey knew from the beginning how important having male cheerleaders as part of the program would be. With their added strength, the WBHS teams were able to do things other schools could not. Eventually, other schools wised up and adjusted what they were doing, but it was Hulsey who was an innovator in the sport.
Hulsey attended the University of Georgia where she was a member of the dance team. It was while she was a student in Athens that Hulsey met her future husband, Jeff. The two have been a team in marriage and in cheerleading as Jeff has been the emcee and voice of the Cheer Doggs.
Coach Hulsey debuted her first cheerleading team at WBHS in 1993. It was the only time the squad would be all female.
During the 1996-97 season, the Cheer Doggs won their first state title, outdistancing the second place team by 50 points.
WBHS would add state titles in 1998, 2004, 2005 and 2011. Six region championships were also earned.
To be the best at any sport is never easy. State championships take a great deal of work and dedication. Anyone who has been around Hulsey’s program knows she expected nothing but the best from her athletes, as well as herself.
While Hulsey has retired, the foundation has certainly been set for the Cheer Doggs program. No doubt the past success will lead to more championships down the road. The leader who started it all may not be the coach moving forward, but her impact will never go away.
Chris Bridges is sports editor of the Barrow Journal. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.