Members of the Blackman High School cheerleading team celebrate Nov. 23, 2013, after winning their sixth TSSAA state title in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Photo submitted)
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The Blackman High cheer dynasty continues as it won its sixth TSSAA state title recently at the 2013 TSSAA Dance and Cheer Championships inside the Miller Coliseum.
Several other local middle and high schools also took part in the Nov. 23 event with mixed results. However, the day belonged to the Blaze.
“The team performed very well Saturday and we were extremely proud of them,” Blackman co-head coach Heather Wortman. “It's an huge honor to win and continue to defend our state cheerleading championship in the small coed division. We have had to overcome lots of challenges the past few weeks and the cheerleaders did an amazing job with handling each situation.”
The Blaze won the title in the small coed division, with Collierville finishing runner-up. It is the third title in a row for Blackman. This year's team was led by seniors Patrick Holz, Jacob Laseter, Tessa McKinnon, Caleb Singleton, Raigan Sweeney, Cesar Voquerano, Risa Witherow and Amber Yanity.
“One key to success is to continue to work hard at each and every practice,”Wortman said. “We make sure and focus on the task at hand and worry about ourselves rather than other teams. We lost a lot of seniors last year and we have a fairly young team and they have to work extremely hard to continue the legacy at Blackman.”
The small coed division is made up of a squad with no more than 20 participants, including four or fewer males on each team. Each squad performs a routine with a mix of cheers and dancing to a selection of music during 2 minutes, 30 seconds time limit.
Besides the Blaze, several other Rutherford County cheerleading squads took part and did well in their respective divisions. Oakland High finished runner-up to Ravenwood in the Medium Varsity division. The squad was led by seniors Alexa Neff, Kaite Wilson, Laura Hollins and Whitney Russell.
Smyrna High finished second to Sacred Heart of Jesus High in the Large Coed division. The squad was led by seniors Rachel Eddings, Victoria Swinehart, Logan Woodard, Jeavonna Coble, Thomas Scherr, Priscilla Badion and Amanda Ofill. Bulldogs head coach Nicole Hammock was more than pleased with the team’s performance.
“They did great,” Hammock said. “There were only two teams in their division and other team won due to technicalities in the scoring of our coed stunts. We truly thought we had beat them, and we were quite surprised at the results. Fortunately, our team kept a great attitude about it and we walked away with some good feedback and we have a clear goal for what we need to do for nationals.”
Several area middle schools also did well at the event, including Christiana Middle, which won the small middle division, Central Magnet finished second in the same division.
While in the dance competition, Oakland High was the only school in Rutherford County to participate at state. The team is coached by Pam Bohall and led by captains Kamron Buehler and Molly Leonard. The team competed in two separate divisions, small varsity pom and small varsity hip hop. It meant the team had to learn two entirely different dances.
At the end of the day, Oakland had two two-four finishes, third in the small varsity pom and fourth in the small varsity hip hop divisions.
Overall, Bohall was happy with the way the team performed, especially having to learn two different routines for this event.
“I think they did a fantastic job,” Bohall said. “They performed well under pressure. For a Murfreesboro team to get that high of a ranking in the state competition, I am so proud of them.”