It hasn’t been an easy road for the Armuchee competition cheerleaders to get back to the GHSA Cheerleading State Championships.
But they can say that they’ve hit their stride at exactly the right time, and it’s one they hope lasts long enough to give them a third straight state title.
The group of girls won the Region 7-AA championship on Saturday at the Northwest Georgia Regionals in Carrollton, giving them a pass to the finals of the state competition Saturday in Columbus.
“It was amazing. It was the first time the girls had really hit everything in the routine this season,” Armuchee head coach Kelli Stamey said of her team’s winning performance. “We had two season-ending injuries, so this has been a rebuilding year. So for everyone to complete the routine and do what they did was wonderful.”
Armuchee was forced to regroup after two members were hurt early in the season. It wasn’t until the final two regular season competitions — the first in Dalton and the second at Sonoraville — that the squad came in first in its class.
“That did give us a little bit of motivation, and we went into the region competition with some confidence,” Stamey said. “Both of the girls who were hurt were big losses. But they are a strong group of young ladies and very determined.”
Armuchee was only the tip of the iceberg for Floyd County on Saturday as Pepperell was named the region runner-up, followed by Model and Coosa. The latter three teams will perform Friday during the state sectionals at the Columbus Civic Center to earn a spot in Friday’s Class AA finals.
“We are definitely a powerhouse here in Floyd County,” Stamey said. “I mean, we had the top three teams in the state last year come from our region. It’s been a case where if you do well in our region it usually means you’ll do well at state.”
Armuchee edged Coosa for the Class AA state title last season while Chattooga finished third. Region 7-AA has won 13 of the last 15 Class AA state championships, with Coosa winning four and Armuchee winning three.
Stamey said her team is continuing to perfect its two-and-a-half minute routine in practice this week.
“They know they still have some things to work on and were critical of their performance at region, which I was pleasantly surprised about,” she said. “We know it’s still a very tight competition. It’s all a matter of who hits and who shows out on Saturday.”
Other local teams that earned a spot in Friday’s state sectionals include Rome High, which came in fourth in Region 7-5A, and Cedartown, with finished second behind Cartersville in the Region 5-4A competition.
The top eight Class AA teams from sectionals will move on to Saturday’s finals, while the top nine sectional finishers from 4A and 5A earn a spot in their classification’s finals.