Sherando cheer team finishes as state runner-up, Colonels 4th
STEPHENS CITY — Sherando High School’s competition cheer team saved its best performance ever for when it needed it most at the VHSL Group 4A Cheer Championship at the Siegel Center in Richmond on Saturday.
The Warriors were third — and 101/2 points behind Grafton — after Round 1, but they certainly made things interesting in the finals.
Sherando ended up posting the exact same score as Grafton in the finals (256 1/2 points), but ended up taking second as the Clippers edged the Warriors on a tiebreaker (there are five judges and they throw out the high and low score for the round and take the average) for the state title.
Glen Allen (253 1/2) followed in third, and James Wood finished fourth.
The Warriors — who won both the Conference 21 and 4A North Region titles — improved on last year’s fourth-place finish and their state runner-up performance is the best ever for a Frederick County school. (Clarke won the Group A title in 2006 and finished as the state runner-up last year).
“I can’t even say how pleased I was with my girls,” Sherando coach Tom Grim said. “They were absolutely phenomenal.”
Grim said it’s hard to improve by 10 points from one round to the next, but he said his team really put together an extraordinary performance in the finals.
“They went out and absolutely nailed that last routine,” Grim said. “Just listening to people in the crowd — they were saying that we were the only team that rose up in the second round whereas everyone else kind of fell off in that round.”
Sherando senior Savana Boyd said the team really delivered when it counted the most.
“In my opinion it was probably the best performance we’ve had all year,” Boyd said. “Everyone improved on what we did last season.
“Getting second is the best that any school from our area has done — and any team from our school has done — so we’re really proud of how we did this year.”
Boyd and fellow senior captains Alyssa Williford and Madison Lesman helped lead the Warriors to their seventh consecutive state tournament appearance. In addition to the three captains, the Warriors competition cheer team includes: junior Mariah Brown, junior Marisa Craig, junior Victoria Dean, junior Katelyn Edwards, freshman Cari Evick, junior Jessica Grayson, junior Savannah Hatfield, junior Tehya Herbaugh, sophomore Rachel Hindle, junior Angelique Matthews, junior Alissa Miller, sophomore Autumn Molden, junior Sydney Phillips, sophomore Kaitlyn Pierro, junior Anna Reynolds, junior Taylor Ritter, junior Sydney Slater, and junior Emmalee Strosnider.
Grim said the team really spent a lot of time fine-tuning its routine heading to Saturday’s competition.
“We worked really hard all week on the little things,” Grim said. “That’s the difference between winning a state championship and losing it. We were all thinking on the way home where could we have gotten another half point. But to improve that much from Round 1 to Round 2 — they fought for everything they got.”
Only four teams make it to the finals, and two of those four were from Frederick County. The Colonels — who finished third at the 4A North Regional — finished with 2431/2points in Round 1, edging Hanover by three points for the last berth in the finals.
James Wood scored a 233 in the final round.
The Colonels’ 19-member competition cheer roster includes: senior captains MiKayla DeMaio, Rachel Denton, Sierra McGraw, junior captain Alex Stanford as well as Ally Anderson, Elizabeth Bange, Emily Brown, Tammy Cave, Allie Cooper, Emma Hammond, Briana Harper, Rachel Judy, Emily Landon, Jaimie Marcy, Janis Martin, Emily McKee, Brooke Stautzenbach, Haleigh Teter and Kristina Williams.
Saturday was the Colonels’ first state appearance since 2010, and it turned out to be the team’s best performance at the state meet.
“This is the highest finish as far as I know,” said James Wood coach Tracy Copley. “To be one of the top four in the state exceeded any goal we had at the beginning of the year. We were ecstatic about being called back for the second round.”