Local cheer team prepares for state competition

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OAK HILL, WV (WVNS)– Back in December of 2020, the WVSSAC announced the West Virginia Cheer State Competition was postponed. After two months, cheerleaders were finally allowed back on the floor to practice with their team.

Captain of the Oak Hill Red Devils, Riley Gray, said she loves being back with her family.

“I’m really excited to just be back with the girls because it was just so abrupt. We were together for months, and then never got to see each other so that was kind of hard to do,” Gray said.

Many of the girls like co-captain Courtney Alexander, are still participating in gymnastics. Head coach Becky Akins, said it’s going to be a challenge getting everyone back into competition mode.

“It’s honestly kind of like summer vacation all over again. We know we only have a month to prepare to be at a state level, where as usually we would have from August until December,” Akins said.

“We’ve been off for a long time and it’s just hard to get back into such a dangerous sport. I mean I am excited for it, but I am kind of worried. I don’t want any of the girls to get hurt,” Alexander said.

There are some changes for cheerleaders because of COVID-19. Lifts are not allowed during competition or games. So, teams have to be creative when planning their routines.

“It’s all tumbling and we have a dance like we had last year,” Gray said. “And we never usually had jumps in our routine that was only a thing for the cheer. Now we have jumps in our routine, two sets of jumps, and it’s just all tumbling.”

The state cheer competition is scheduled for Saturday, Mar. 20, 2021 at Marshall University. The Red Devils will not be the only local school competing, Shady Spring and Midland Trail will also try to bring the state championship title to their school.

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