Armuchee Middle School Cheer claims back-to-back region titles

Front row from left: Morgan Brown, Ansley Smith, Jordan Dorsey, Emily Brookshire, Kileigh Barcomb, Peyton Falk, Maggie Dillard, Bayleigh Hughes and Payton Burger. Back row from left: Reagan Lathem, Kenzie Long, Abbie Carson, Reagan Greer, Presley Dixon, Briley Mullinax, Ella Dunagan and Allie Stockton.

A lot can change in one year. All you have to do is look around.

You don’t need to ask Armuchee Middle School Cheer about that. The challenges have been plenty, but one particular constant has remained. And its a constant Armuchee Middle Cheer has been working at since last June.

On Feb. 6, Armuchee Middle School claimed its second consecutive Floyd County Athletic Association Region Championship. The successful region title defense caps off a season filled with quarantines, close contact tracing and distanced learning and training.

“It was like you would take one step forward and 10 steps back seems like every week,” coach Lindsey Barcomb said in a phone interview. “Through all that, resilience and adversity is what I told the girls. They were able to overcome so much that was thrown at them in such little prep time.”

“Honestly, being able to not be quarantined and being able to compete in the region championship was a win within itself,” Barcomb continued. “The victory’s sweet, but it was also an emotional moment because of all we’ve been through.”

The past 12 months became a roller coaster for Armuchee Middle School competition cheer.

On March 5, 2020, Barcomb had finalized her roster after tryouts. One week later, pupils would be out of school and the cascading wave of athletic cancellations would begin as the COVID-19 pandemic took grip across the nation.

Even in the months leading up to the region tournament, Barcomb noted how quarantines had forced Armuchee Middle School Cheer to pass on two December competitions.

“We came back from Christmas break eager to compete that first weekend, and then we had another girl quarantine,” Barcomb said. “In competition cheer, it’s not like pulling somebody off the sideline because you have to rework everything for that position. That was a setback of reworking night before a competition, setting girls in new positions.”

The day leading up to the region competition gave Barcomb a reassuring feeling knowing that all 17 girls on the team would get to compete the following day.

“All that we went through in December and the beginning of January was well worth it considering that we were all able to be together and hit the mat one last time together as a team,” Barcomb said.

With the middle school competition cheer season now over, Barcomb said her parting message with her group was Feb. 6 had been the culmination of all their effort throughout the season.

“This is what we worked for ... since last March,” Barcomb said. “Everything they have endured and encountered over time as a team ..., victory in the end was achieved.”

“And there is no offseason,” Barcomb added. “Stay in the gym. Keep working on those tumbling skills.”

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