West Columbia, SC - Airport and Brookland-Cayce high schools both walked away with top finishes in a competitive cheer event last weekend.
But there was little time for rest, with both teams gearing up for more competition this month.
At Saturday’s inaugural Okra Strut Invitational, hosted by Irmo High School in conjunction with the 44th annual Irmo Okra Strut, both teams took home first place recognition among the nine teams competing.
Airport High’s cheerleaders placed in the 4A Varsity Division, while the Brookland-Cayce cheer team placed in the 3A Varsity Division.
“The girls really love competition days and so do I, because it's a chance for us to show the community just how hard we've been working at practices and the pure athleticism of the sport,” said Jennifer Wilkins, the first-year coach at Brookland-Cayce High. “These competitions are a way for us to not only perform our talent and show off our skills, but they help us practice and get better before the state competition. We came in second in the state last year, and the girls and I are all really hoping to come back this year and win the whole thing.”
Airport HIgh coach Ashley Caulder echoed that sentiment.
“Competitive cheerleading is a time-consuming sport. I'm proud of my team for being committed to one another and giving it their all,” said Caulder, who is in her third year as cheer coach. “This is one of the best group of athletes I have ever coached. I have high hopes for Airport Varsity this year.”
Airport’s next competitive cheer competition is Battle at the Bluff, set for Saturday at River Bluff High School. Team members include Madison Dinkins, Lena Barrs, Lauren Pope, Sydney Evans, Bre Thompson (captain), Keasia Montgomery, Gracie Spires, Shy'da Lloyd, Tionna Mitchell, Courtnie Wooten, Jayda Reece, Kaile Hawkins, Cydney Williams, Savannah Rimer, Haden Rimer, Kylie Palmer, Katelyn Culclasure, Madison Rucker, Frances Bishop, Nyra Jenkins, Sally Skinne, Taylor Randolph, Laney Ellisor, Essence Johnson, Hailey Gunter, and Mystasha Singleton.
Brookland-Cayce’s next competition is the Lake Murray Invitational, set for Oct 14 at Chapin High School. Team members include Alexis Affronti, Brandi Brown, Caisee Corley, Sara Corley, Mary Kendall Dickerson, Kayden Giles, Janaisha Hart, Sierra Hayes, Lacey Holliday, Benisha Hopkins, Laney Long, Lauren Miller, Peyton Oliphant, Savanna Pittman, Kailey Quick, Hannah Rea, Gracin Riddle,Reid Riddle, Ainsley Staton, Ada Stiglbauer, Alex Truesdale, Brayden Waters, Jade Watford, Kaitlyn Watson, Kanshara Watson, Kaleigh Watts, and Katie White.
The South Carolina High School League holds qualifiers and state finals for competitive cheer in November.