Coosa competition cheerleaders

The Coosa competition cheerleaders pose with the Region 7-AA first place trophy after their win Saturday at the University of West Georgia. Shown are Maddie Graham (front row, from left), Jasmine Limon, Katelyn Taylor, Carleigh Otting, Tori Stephens, Ansley Cowan (middle row, from left), Micah Wade, Itzy Cruz, Emily Martin, Mary Kathryn Broadway, Kailey Bryant (back row, from left), Hannah Moore, Ella Burnette, Addie Blake and Olivia Vann. / Contributed

After all, 12 of the last 14 Class AA state champions have come from the region or a former incarnation of it.

So when the Coosa High School squad won the region title Saturday at the University of West Georgia it got a special bump going into this weekend’s state event in Columbus.

“It was very huge,” coach Beth Wade said. “We knew it was going to be a very close competition. We have an extremely strong region and have known that for many years. So when they announced us as the winners we were thrilled and beside ourselves.”

Coosa last won the region title in 2016 but last won state in 2015, the program’s fourth overall. Armuchee, which came in second at region, took the Class AA crown last year.

“We’ve worked hard, and the girls are very focused,” Wade said. “They look to step up and try to improve each time they perform, so we’re hoping this Saturday is no different.”

Region 7-AA squads Armuchee, Model, Pepperell, Rockmart and Chattooga will all compete in Friday’s sectionals with the top eight advancing to Saturday’s finals to go up against Coosa and the other seven region champions. Rome High’s team will also compete Friday in Class 5A for a shot at qualifying for Saturday’s finals.

Coosa took first in Class AA at five of the six competitions it entered before Saturday’s region competition. Wade said the team’s unity has helped them throughout the season.

“They have, from very beginning, had a common goal,” she said. “These girls have never had anything but first place in their sights ever. They try to rise to that every single week, and that’s so unique for a group of 15 to 16 girls to be so focused on the same thing.”