Southeast Bulloch High School’s competitive cheerleading team finished off a hugely successful season last weekend with a third-place finish in the Georgia Class AAA State Cheerleading Championships.
The championships were held in Columbus and the team, led by cheerleading coach Meredith Jones and assistant Ashley Howard, competed against 14 other teams in the state meet.
“I couldn't be prouder of this team and their accomplishments this year,” Jones said. “They have worked harder than any team I have ever coached. They pushed themselves every single day at practice and, more importantly, pushed each other and encouraged each other. They are state champions in my book and worked like state champions every day.”
After taking the Grand Championship at the Veterans High School competition, and two firsts and three seconds at their other competitions, they went on to take second place at their Class AAA Regional Meet.
At the State Cheerleading Sectionals Competition, held the day before the Saturday finals, the SEB squad won and earned the right to compete in the state championship finals.
“I am extremely proud of our cheerleading competition squad and (all of our) other accomplishments this year,” SEB Principal Donna Clifton said. “We have a staff, sponsors and coaches that are the best.”
The SEB team has two senior captains: Micaela Wert and Ashley Owusu.
Owusu said, “It was great to go to state my senior year and compete with 16 talented girls who were dedicated and wanted nothing more than to do their very best … (and) to win sectionals and get third in state!”
Jones says that after this year’s performances, she sees her girls are probably strongest in their stunts and many would benefit if they could take some advanced tumbling classes during the off-season.
The choreography for each year’s new routines takes a lot of work. Over the summer, Coach Jones and Coach Howard work with United Cheerleading of Columbus to choreograph their new routine.
Coach Jones added, “Our 2 1/2-minute performance was a great routine. As an ‘American Tribute,’ our music included ‘American Woman,’ ‘R.O.C.K. in the USA,’ ‘I’m Proud to be an American’ and more.”
The judges, she said, commented on the routine’s originality and creativity. Their show featured a “Walking Pyramid” in which the girls formed a pyramid and then actually moved around on the mat.
Coach Jones was adamant her cheerleading parents be acknowledged for being “such a phenomenal support group for everyone.” In addition, she said, her girls “put their hearts out there, and boy did it show.”