By Shirley Shuman
In Little Kanawha Conference cheerlead-ing competition Nov. 16, the Braxton County High School cheerleaders coached by Erica Toler placed second among nine groups. Their trophy is the first one received by a BCHS cheerlead-ing squad since the 1990s. Coach Toler emphasized that her squad is “extremely hard-working, dedicated, and team-oriented.” The award-winning squad of 13 includes only one senior and one junior with five sophomores and six freshmen.
The lone senior on the squad is Haley Morris, and Nivia McCourt is the junior. Sophomores are Kendall King, Samantha Rexroad, Mallory McElwain, Jeilyn West, and Aubree McDonald. The freshmen include Zoey Propst, Sophia Cool, Jade Chapman, Brylan Carver, Braelyn Bennett, and Brooklyn Paletti.
Encouraged by their second-place trophy in conference competition, the girls, their coach noted “have big goals; their ultimate is to go to states.” West Virginia cheerleading squads have two competitions a year. Braxton’s first took place on Nov. 4, and that led to the girls and their coach’s polishing and making changes in their routines before last week’s LKC competition. Coach Toler pointed out that her squad began their preparation for competition in August.
The coach emphasized that rules for cheer competition are rigid and precise. First, each routine must last no longer than two minutes and thirty seconds and each is open. That means that a routine must include a dance, tumbling, and stunt. The technical cheer must last between 35 and 40 seconds. Exceeding the time limit on the total routine or the technical cheer results in point deductions.
The groups are judged by five individuals who have attended required classes and passed the judging test. Routines are judged on degree of difficulty; technical cheer which includes techniques, precision, formations, and creativity; tumbling execution, and stunt execution and difficulty.
Coach Erica Toler indicated she firmly believes that since they have experienced success in competition, these dedicated and determined young women will continue their hard work.