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Stuarts Draft cheerleading team wins Shenandoah District championship; Fort Defiance and Wilson Memorial secure regional berths
PREP CHEERLEADING

Stuarts Draft cheerleading team wins Shenandoah District championship; Fort Defiance and Wilson Memorial secure regional berths

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FORT DEFIANCE — On a day featuring a lot of sensational competition cheer performances, Stuarts Draft was still best.

The Cougars defended the Shenandoah District cheer championship — again — with a near flawless performance Saturday afternoon.

But Draft wasn’t the only school celebrating at the end of the district competition.

Host school Fort Defiance and Wilson Memorial both earned spots in regional competition with incredible performances.

Stuarts Draft entered Saturday’s competition knowing it would be moving on to compete in Region 2B, and the Cougars looked ready for another deep postseason run.

“They were really determined they were going to go out and put their best performance of the season on the mat, and they did,” Draft coach Tammy Carter said of her cheerleaders. “I was so proud of them. They had such crowd engagement and such energy. They had something to prove, and they went out and did their best.”

Draft will compete in Region 2B Competition Cheer championships at East Rockingham High School on Oct. 27.

Fort finished in second place with by far the team’s best performance of the season.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with them,” Fort coach Melissa Hill said. “They’ve had a rough two weeks. We’ve had to make quite a few alterations to what they do every day, and I feel like they executed what we asked them to do and more.”

Wilson cheerleaders also nailed their routine in a third-place finish, and the Hornet cheerleaders knew it immediately.

“When we first started the season, they would come off the mat like, ‘Did we do good?’” Wilson co-coach Tara Wagoner said. “Today, they were like, ‘We killed it!’”

Hornet co-coach Mallory Claytor agreed.

“We’ve come so far since even the last competition a week ago and from August when we first started,” Claytor said. “We’ve worked really hard to get where we are today.”

Fort and Wilson will return to Fort Defiance next Saturday to compete in the Region 3C championships.

The Riverheads Gladiators were fourth on Saturday.

“I’m excited about what my girls did today,” Riverheads coach Amanda Fortune said. “We had 10 on the mat. We normally have 12. We’re overcoming sickness and illness. They did the best they could today. I’m so proud of them.”

The small-but-scrappy Staunton Storm competition cheer team also had its best performance of the year.

“Our team did an awesome job,” Staunton coach Michelle Huggard said. “They got out there and shined so brightly. I’m so proud of them. Their energy was up. They gave the performance they always wanted to give today.”

Waynesboro placed sixth in the competition. Not only was it the Little Giants’ first competition of the year, it was their first competition in the past six years.

“I thought it went well considering we went up against teams who had all been able to compete already,” Little Giant coach Bobbie Jarvis said. “We had the first comp jitters.”

Buffalo Gap finished seventh.

“We did better,” Bison coach Dreama Melton-Sheffer said. “Our numbers went up, and we executed what we could with what little time we had.”

Riverheads and Buffalo Gap will compete in the four-team Class 1 Western Sectional on Oct. 30 with host school Auburn and Central Lunenburg.

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