High School Sports

Lost nearly half their team to graduation. No problem. Took second in state again.

The Brookstone Cougars show the runner-up medals they received for finishing second in the Class A private-school competition during the Georgia High School Association cheerleading state championships in the Columbus Civic Center on Friday night, Nov. 9, 2018. Pictured, from left, are: front row, seniors Haley Johnson and Abby Beaver; middle row, Ashley Lewis, Olivia Foster, Wells Roberts and Abby Leary; back row, Springer Tebeau, Katherine Brown, Mary Virginia Sluder, Anna Kate Helton, Laine Harris, Lily White, Joanna Lunsford, Julia Loudermilk, Riley Grier and Claire Nicholson.
The Brookstone Cougars show the runner-up medals they received for finishing second in the Class A private-school competition during the Georgia High School Association cheerleading state championships in the Columbus Civic Center on Friday night, Nov. 9, 2018. Pictured, from left, are: front row, seniors Haley Johnson and Abby Beaver; middle row, Ashley Lewis, Olivia Foster, Wells Roberts and Abby Leary; back row, Springer Tebeau, Katherine Brown, Mary Virginia Sluder, Anna Kate Helton, Laine Harris, Lily White, Joanna Lunsford, Julia Loudermilk, Riley Grier and Claire Nicholson. Brookstone School

Four local teams were among the more than 150 vying for one of the nine Georgia High School Association competition cheerleading 2018 state titles Friday and Saturday in the Columbus Civic Center.

The Brookstone Cougars produced the best finish among the local teams, taking second place in the Class A private-school competition. In Class AAAA, the Columbus Blue Devils finished fifth and the Northside Patriots ninth. In Class AAAAA, the Harris County Tigers performed later than the deadline for this story Saturday.

Brookstone coach Allison McGregor said Saturday, “I’m just so proud of this group of girls. They worked so hard. They’re a very young team, so it was a climb all season, but for us last night, these girls really reached their peak. I couldn’t be more proud of their effort and dedication. It was just an amazing season.”

It’s the second straight year the Cougars finished second in the state. After seven of their 16 athletes graduated from last season’s team, this was supposed to be a rebuilding year. But with the addition of seven freshmen and sophomores, these Cougars didn’t let their relative inexperience keep them from earning medals at the state championships.

“With their calm nature and their perseverance, they are such a coachable group of athletes,” McGregor said. “It was just a learning experience, and they took it all in and produced last night all that they had learned.”

McGregor also praised the team’s “two amazing senior athletes, Abby Beaver and Haley Johnson, who never quit pushing to do more, allowing them both to add additional advanced tumbling to the routine this last week.”

As one of the eight region winners in Class AAAA, Northside received a bye through Friday’s sectionals into Saturday’s finals, which comprise 16 teams in each classification. Columbus and Harris County performed well enough in Friday’s sectionals to be among the top eight in their classification to advance to Saturday’s finals with the region winners. Being in Class A, Brookstone didn’t have to go through sectionals and instead competed in the finals Friday night.

Local competition cheerleading teams have won several state championships: Hardaway (1994), Brookstone (1996), Harris County (2006) and Columbus (2008 and 2010).

Mark Rice, 706-576-6272, @MarkRiceLE.

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