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Williamsburg Academy High School
Kingstree

 

Cheerleaders bring the spirit for Williamsburg Academy athletics

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Kingstree – In a growing world of competitive cheerleading, it is becoming rare to find cheer squads at high schools where the only focus is to set the tone from a spirit perspective at their school’s athletic events.

Cheerleading at Williamsburg Academy is one such school that places a higher value on being spirit leaders than competing in competitions throughout the year. However, that doesn’t mean the Williamsburg Academy cheerleaders are not athletes. In fact, many of them participate in other sports at the school.

“I think the main thing that keeps us from being a competitive cheer squad is that we just don’t have the time here,” coach Lucie Ann Smunk said. “A lot of these girls play other sports, some even in volleyball and basketball when they are still in cheering. We have girls who practice volleyball then cheer, or they play volleyball on Thursday and are on the sidelines for football or pep rallies on Friday. During basketball we have some that play for the girls team then change into cheerleading uniforms and cheer for the boys game. Plus, they also have school and have to work hard to maintain their grades. They stay very busy.”

Smunk, herself a Williamsburg Academy graduate, says while the team doesn’t do competitions, the cheerleaders are plenty competitive when it comes to making the squad. Smunk says the process begins in the spring with open tryouts. She enlists the help of judges from the Universal Cheerleading Association (UCA) to choose the varsity and junior varsity teams. In fact, the judges pick the team without her input.

“It’s a tough process, a tough tryout and the girls know that they will be judged by people whose job is cheerleading,” Smunk said. “I’m out of the process. I assist the girls with a little clinic prior to tryouts to get them prepared but then I’m out. And just because you make it one year doesn’t guarantee anything for the next year. It’s a fresh slate every year. Every one is on even ground.”

The coach admires her cheerleaders for their commitment to the team, to their other sports, and to the classroom.

“These girls are very dedicated and they work really hard,” she said. “They show up and do whatever is asked of them and they do it with a great heart and passion. We have great parental support and our administration here at the school really supports everything we do. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of this.”

Smunk is assisted by her daughter, Louise Holladay, a former cheerleader and graduate of Williamsburg Academy as well.

The teams attend the SCISA cheerleading camp each summer. This past summer, the varsity team was selected as an all-star squad, earning the opportunity to cheer on the sidelines during the SCISA North-South all-star game in December.

The junior varsity also was chosen as an all-star squad and will perform at halftime of the all-star game.

The entire cheerleading program received the 2018 Leadership Award as voted on by the other squads in attendance.

Senior captains on the varsity squad include Allie Brown, Skyler Graham and Lauren Williamson. The other seniors this year are Tyler Louise Brown, Sydney Smith and Ladashia Swinton.

Juniors include Julia Cribb, Sydney Ann Smith, Lizzie Williamson, Jordyn Cox, Grayson Copeland, and Kendall McKenzie, with sophomores Sara Elizabeth Coker and Brooke Wall rounding out the varsity.

The captains of the junior varsity team include captains Logan Cox, Gracie Graham, Sarah Kensley Kellahan, and Decatur Moore. Iva Grace Wilson, Megan Mouzon and Kylee Sholar are the other freshmen on the roster.

Eighth-graders are Emma Kate Brown, Abby Cox, Josie Feagin, Glorianna Flinchum and Nealy Lamb. Seventh-graders Kaitlyn Moore and Josie Tisdale round out the team.

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