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GCHS cheerleaders nab fourth straight regional title

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By Matt Birkholtz

The seniors on the Grant County High School cheerleading squad accomplished a feat not many cheerleaders have done before, claiming their fourth straight regional title Jan. 8 at Shelby County High School.

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The squad, which competes in a 2 ½ minute routine, which incorporates music and dance, scored the highest out of all of the schools in the 8th Region. Grant County competes in the 16-school medium division and when it came time for warm-ups, head cheerleading coach Leigh Simpson was unsure of how well they were going to compete.

“The girls had a bad warm-up, but somehow they pulled it together,” she said.

“Their finish was definitely impressive and their performance was just incredible.”

For Simpson, winning the title is an accomplishment, but it is more important for the cheerleaders who win the title.

“For me each year is a different year,” she said. “I don’t look at it in terms of whose year it is. It is just another opportunity to teach them how to be the best that they can be.”

The cheerleading squad’s seniors are Karri Edmondson, Ashley Long, Emily Riley and Briana Shandel.

Winning the title in their final season of high school cheerleading was an accomplishment that they can carry on, and doing it all four years of cheerleading gave them that sense of accomplishment.

“It was an overwhelming experience for us,” Edmondson said. “We put our full heart into it and knowing again that we can do it. It was amazing feeling knowing all our hard work went into it and it paid off.”

For two seniors, Riley and Shandel, the regional title was their fourth one to share together.

“Knowing we won the title our senior is special, because we have gone all four years and that is something girls in the past can’t say,” Shandel said.

Last season, the GCHS cheerleaders were just short of placing in the top five at state, but their goal this season is to get into the top five.

 “We are doing a lot of improvements to the routine to get ready for state,” Edmondson said. “We have the squad and the talent to get us there.”

Their schedule has three more competitions remaining for the season including JKD Competition at Bourbon County High School Jan. 29. After that they have the Northern Kentucky Cheerleaders Coaches Association Competition, Feb. 5 at the Bank of Kentucky Center on NKU’s campus. The GCHS cheerleading squad will finish the season with the Kentucky Association of Pep Organization Sponsors State Competition Feb. 19 at Western Kentucky University.