Competition Cheer-The Road to STATE CHAMPS


Kileigh Barcomb, Staff Writer

 On November 12th, 2022, the Armuchee competition cheer team took home another GHSA State Championship title. Armuchee’s competition squad is led by head coach Kelli Stamey and assistant coach Jennifer Dougherty. Stamey has led the competition cheer program to four state championships, three second-place finishes, and multiple region championships since she began coaching in 1999. The competition cheer program is extremely successful, and the athletes claim their success is due to how their coaches have helped them. Sophomore competition cheerleader, Peyton Falk said, “Coach Stamey and Coach D have taught us not to let our mind tell our body we can not do something. I often think I can’t do something, when in reality I just am not pushing myself. They have helped our whole team learn work ethic and how to try our hardest.” These coaches have pushed the girls and encouraged them throughout the season. With their dedication to the team, they led the squad to a state championship. Sophomore Maggie Dillard said, “During the season we reached a point where we struggled hitting our pyramid, and would have to work on it multiple times each practice. Coach Stamey and Coach D kept pushing us, and it eventually paid off because we did so many reps that we were able to hit it almost perfectly.” In a cheer routine, the pyramid is a section where every girl on the mat is working to make a stunt stay in the air. These two coaches could have let the athletes figure out the problem themselves, but instead they worked with the girls to overcome a minor setback.

On November 5th, the girls claimed a victory at their sectionals competition. The win boosted the girls’ spirits, but Junior Olivia Dorsey said, “After winning Region, we were definitely very excited, but we realized our main focus needed to be getting the job done at state the next week.”  At sectionals, the team hit one of their best routines of the season, but they still had a few skills to focus on. Senior Desiree Espy also said, “The biggest challenge the week before the state was focusing on the details like sharpness and timing because every little detail counts, and you could win or lose by less than half a point.” Leading up to state the team spent every day doing multiple full outs and focusing on the little details of their routine. In cheerleading, a state championship can be determined by half a point, so the squad has to work hard to make sure they are completing every part of their routine to the best of their ability. 

According to the cheerleaders, the weekend of state is very stressful, but the girls made many memories. Before competing, the results are hard to guess. Stamey said, “We felt really good about our chances of winning State after placing 1st at Sectionals the Saturday before. But the scores were super close at Sectionals so we knew we had to perform our best to be the winner,” With their nerves through the roof, Armuchee took the floor around 11 on Saturday, November 12th, and hit their best routine of the season. However, small mistakes can happen. Olivia Dorsey said, “Personally I was terrified because my stunt had a bobble during partner stunts, but since my stunt group recovered immediately after the fall, we made up for our mistake.” However, the small bobble did not set Armuchee back because they persevered and made up for the small mistake with the rest of their routine. Armuchee’s routine was composed of skills that had high difficulty. In cheerleading, the routine is scored by how hard your skills are and how well you execute them. Armuchee was set apart from the other teams because they had the high difficulty skills, and executed them very well. The team was able to gain more points in their difficulty, which made up for the bobble they made early in the routine. Awaiting the results was the most stressful part, according to Sophomore Peyton Falk. She said, “I was nervous because we worked really hard throughout the season, and I wanted nothing more than to hear my name called as a state champion.” Luckily for Falk, that was exactly what happened. Armuchee’s competition cheer team was named the 2022 GHSA State Champions and continued the legacy of not having a single girl graduate from the program without a state championship since 2014.