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Cheerleading: ‘A lot of preparation’ helps Westminster earn winter county championship

Westminster won the Carroll County Cheerleading Competition winter title Jan. 25, 2020 at Westminster High School
Westminster won the Carroll County Cheerleading Competition winter title Jan. 25, 2020 at Westminster High School(Courtesy Photo)

The silence of the moments leading up to the announcement of the winners at Saturday’s Carroll County Winter Cheerleading competition was a stark contrast from the party-like atmosphere just minutes earlier.

Teammates locked hands, bowed their heads, and waited to hear their school’s name — hoping a season worth of preparation was about to pay off.

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As Carrie Underwood’s “The Champion” played in the background inside the gymnasium at Westminster High School, the host’s varsity cheerleaders erupted into a frenzy as they were crowned the top team at the competition.

Senior Kaitlyn Wolfe credited the victory to the team’s hard work at practice all season.

“A lot of preparation,” Wolfe said. “It’s really hard to perfect skills so we had a lot of practices where we drilled stunts. Over and over again. It takes that repetition for us to get it perfect.”

Four county teams competed Saturday and were judged on various skills such as stunts, pyramid formations, tosses, and technique. Westminster’s varsity squad finished with a score of 118.8. Liberty, the fall county cheer champion, finished just behind at 115.25 points, while Francis Scott Key had 110.25 to round out the top 3. Manchester Valley placed fourth with 91.95.

With only the top 40% of Maryland cheer teams earning a trip to the state semifinals, it put a lot of pressure on each team. Despite the high stakes, there was a great deal of support all around for each team. The members of every squad cheering loudly for the team at the center of the mat and clapping in support.

“We all support each other,” said Westminster senior Rebecca Higgins. “It’s a fun atmosphere.”

Winter stats and standings for Carroll County high school sports through Wednesday’s games

Owls coach Alex Taylor said her five seniors played a key role in earning this team title.

“They are great at leading the team and bringing them where they need to be mentally,” Taylor said. “Putting them in the right head space to get through any tough time they need to.”

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The Owls’ JV squad also earned top honors, showing Westminster has a bright future in county competition. The Westminster JV team took the top spot with a score of 105.55. South Carroll followed with 100.4 and FSK was third at 93.9.

Francis Scott Key's winter cheerleading team took third place at the Carroll County winter competition Jan. 25, 2020 at Westminster High School.
Francis Scott Key's winter cheerleading team took third place at the Carroll County winter competition Jan. 25, 2020 at Westminster High School.(Courtesy Photo)

Carroll County’s cheerleaders have been busy this winter — Manchester Valley hosted an invitational Jan. 13, and Westminster followed with one two days later (the Owls were the top Class 4A-3A team at their invite, and third overall). Westminster placed second at the Chesapeake Invitational on Jan. 20, and Francis Scott Key held its own invite Jan. 22.

Prior to Saturday’s county awards ceremony, seniors were recognized for their dedication to cheerleading. Each student was given an ovation and gathered with their teammates for pictures. Several students were given bouquets of flowers.

“They were a big part of us,” Taylor said. “They are going to miss it and we are going to miss them.”

Baltimore, Harford, and Howard counties have their winter cheer competitions set for this coming week, and once that round is finished it’s into the state semifinals. That event is slated for Feb. 5-6 at Harford Community College, with the state championships scheduled for Feb. 11 at that same venue.

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