WVSSAC postpones state cheer competition, local team reacts

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CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — On Saturday, Dec. 5, the WVSSAC announced the 2020 High School State Cheer Competition is postponed.

Executive Director for the WVSSAC, Bernie Dolan, released a statement stating, “The postponement is in accord with the December 2 update to the Safety Guidance for Sports issued by state government officials in response to the pandemic, and is made in the interest of safety for cheerleading participants and fans.”

Oak Hill High School’s Head Cheer Coach, Becky Akins, said while every team that made it this far is deserving, the question she has is why now and not earlier in the season.

“The matter of the fact is if they are red they weren’t suppose to be able to go and this didn’t become an issue until Saturday when the map came out,” Akins said. “Thursday, we got emails about selling tickets and Monday there was a coaches meeting, so all week long there wasn’t an issue.”

Senior Riley Gray said before his daily COVID-19 briefing on Monday, Governor Jim Justice stopped outside and talked to the cheer team to let them know everyone’s safety is his number one priority.

“It really did mean a lot just to have him acknowledge that he knows what we are feeling and how we are angry and upset and frustrated. It does just mean a lot to know they are trying to help us,” Gray said.

Akins said while they are protesting to represent cheer teams across the state, they are also using their voices for every sport that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you’re going to postpone our state competition, why could you not postpone the football team, and the volleyball team, and band competitions everything,” Akins said. “Why is this one the only one that’s suppose to be postponed.”

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