Cheerleading team starts strong with reinvented varsity team


Reagan Wilkins

Cheerleaders perform their routine at the pep rally on the Friday of homecoming week. The cheerleaders competed on Sept. 19 and Oct. 3, earning the grand champions title at East Coweta and first place at Putnam.

Valen Yeager, Staff Writer

“It’s a rebuilding year,” said cheerleading head coach Mandy Ratliff, referring to the loss of many cheerleaders from last year.

The cheerleading team lost 11 out of their 16 varsity cheerleaders after graduation, which posed quite a challenge for Ratliff and the remaining members of the squad.

But Ratliff is keeping her expectations high after three senior cheerleaders were selected to attend the Cheerleader of the Year Competition. She said she’s worked with the team to be ready for the season. “It’s been a lot of hard work,” Ratliff said. “We are always reaching for state finals.”

Sophomores Jordan Smith and Mary Elizabeth Payne and freshmen Evy Dunn and Hannah Defler are some of the cheerleaders new to varsity. The cheerleaders aren’t the only new recruits this year.

Two new coaches joined Ratliff. Biology teacher Nicole Trahan is the new varsity assistant coach, and math teacher Heather McNally coaches junior varsity. With the new members of the squad and the new coaches, this year promises to be a new start, and Ratliff hopes to establish a strong team for future years.

Her cheerleaders also have high expectations for the year. “We want to win [state] again, and even if we don’t, we still want to hit our routine and do our personal best,”  senior cheerleader Emily Herrmann said.

This young team has shown strength at the first competition of the year on Sept. 19 at East Coweta. They took first place in AAAAA division and earned the grand champions title for the highest score across all divisions. They also won first place at the competition on Oct. 3 at Putnam High School. The team is optimistic about this season, and they believe in “giving our all, every single time.”

The season consists of six competitions before the regional tournament, where they must place in the top four to advance to semifinals. Their next competition will be held at Ola on Oct. 17.