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PREP CHEERLEADING: Local squads prepare for state competition this weekend

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Armuchee Competition Cheerleaders

The Armuchee High School varsity competition cheerleaders head to the GHSA state championships this weekend in Columbus after winning the Region 7-AA title on Saturday. (Contributed photo)

Year after year, the best competition cheerleading teams in the Rome area also represent some of the best in the state. And with undefeated squads and defending champions returning to Columbus, this season is no exception.

The GHSA cheerleading state championships kick off at the Columbus Civic Center beginning Friday, with seven local teams competing for a shot at a title. And while the meets leading up to state have prepared each team, anything can happen at state.

“These girls have worked hard since the beginning of the season,” Armuchee coach Kelli Stamey said. “They’ve made a serious effort in practice, they’ve stayed focused and they’ve been more of a team than any I’ve had in a long time.”

Armuchee has been dominant all season long, going undefeated in competition play for the first time in program history. The Lady Indians most recently continued its run with a first-place finish in the Region 7-AA championship last Saturday.

Stamey has seen a different kind of consistency this season, as the team seems to ride off of success.

“This is the first year we’ve gone undefeated and it is because of the way we go about each victory,” Stamey said. “I think those wins just drove them to stay No. 1 and consistently, every week, to stay at the top of their games.”

The seniors on Armuchee’s squad were there when the Lady Indians took their first championship back in 2014. And with nearly everyone on the team having experience at state, she is confident her team knows how to approach this week.

“We just need to continue to stay focused, continue to stay humble,” Stamey said. “Even though we are coming up on the end, this is where we need to work our hardest and turn it on.”

Another notable team to watch is Cedartown, which took home its first state championship last season in the Class 4A. The team has carried it over into this season and has yet to lose a single competition so far.

The Lady Bulldogs have continued their run this season with a first place finish in the Region 5-4A competition. Like Armuchee, the win gives the team a night off from Friday’s sectionals and they will be one of the final teams to compete Saturday morning.

The Rome competition cheerleading team is competing in the co-ed division, meaning its finals are taking place Friday night. As opposed to other local teams, the Wolves are competing against other co-ed teams from all classifications.

Coosa finished just behind Armuchee at the Region 7-AA competition and begins its quest for state with its sectionals routine Friday morning. The Eagles finished ahead of Armuchee in the state championship last season.

The best local AA team last season was Pepperell, which finished state runner-up to Vidalia. The Lady Dragons finished third in the region championship this season, the same spot it had entering the state meet last year.

Rockmart and Model both qualified for the state meet after finishing fourth and fifth at the Region 7-AA meet.