Cheerleading championships return to Macon for two packed days of competition

The 29th annual GHSA Cheerleading State Championships return to the heart of Georgia on Friday, Nov. 19-20 for two days of electrifying routines at the Macon Centreplex. The Class 2A and 4A Finals will begin at 10 a.m. and then Class 3A and 6A will get going at 3 p.m. There were two different sites that hosted the Class 2A sectionals this past weekend and the top 8 scoring teams from each location earned their spot in the finals. Bremen placed first at Putnam and defending state champion Dodge County earned the top score at Vidalia. Dodge County edged Bleckley County at the Vidalia competition and it was reminiscent of last year’s finals—where Dodge County won its first-ever crown with a narrow 88.5 win over the Royals (86.5).

In Class 4A, defending state champion West Laurens earned a top finish at Vidalia and last year’s runner-up Jefferson was topped by Central-Carroll at the Morgan County Sectionals. All three of these squads earned top 3 finishes at last year’s championships: West Laurens (96), Jefferson (95), Central Carroll (94).

UP FOR GRABS…

Class 3A is shaping up to be highly competitive. A year ago, Mary Persons (99) edged Pierce County (98.5) to deny the Bears a sixth-straight state title. Pierce County placed first at the Morgan County Sectionals last weekend ahead of Mary Persons and Dawson County edged Greater Atlanta Christian for the top spot at the Buford Sectionals. Dawson County (95.5) earned a third-place finish at state last year and will be vying for its first-ever state title in a talented Class 3A field. As for Class 6A, Carrollton won last year’s championship in the school’s first year competing in Class 6A. The triumph gave the Trojans their 10th all-time championship. This past weekend, Buford and Creekview finished ahead of Carrollton at the Buford Sectionals and Richmond Hill, Lee County and Houston County finished at the top of the Houston Sectionals—offering a preview of the outstanding depth that will be center state Friday night in Macon.

On Saturday, Class A Private, Class A Public and Class 5A will begin the competition at 10 a.m. Mt. Paran has won every state title since Class A Private was introduced in 2012-13 and a victory on Saturday would give the program its 10th-straight championship. Mt. Paran clinched last year’s crown with a 93.5-point effort and Savannah Christian came in at 90—well ahead of third-place Brookstone’s (78). Mt. Paran earned a top finish in the A Private Sectionals ahead of Savannah Christian, George Walton and Brookstone—all of which will try to take the crown from Mt. Paran’s decade-long grip this Saturday. Gordon Lee has also been dominant and will look for its sixth-straight Class A Public title this weekend. The Trojans emerged at the top of the Sectional Results ahead of Trion and Commerce, Armuchee and Lake Oconee Academy. Last year, Gordon Lee ran away with the title and scored a 100.5. Armuchee was the next closest score at 82 and Lake Oconee Academy placed third with a 79 mark.

In Class 5A, McIntosh will attempt to three-peat and win its seventh all-time championship. The Chiefs took a top finish at the Houston Sectionals ahead of cross-town rivals Whitewater and Starr’s Mill.  Greenbrier edged four-time state champion Cartersville at the Forsyth Sectionals and will be trying to win its first-ever championship this weekend.

HIGH-FLYING ACTION

The final session of championship weekend will start at 3 p.m. and the Class 7A and COED champions will be crowned. Class 7A is once again expected to be a highly-competitive battle and reigning state champion South Forsyth will try for its third state title in the past five years. South Forsyth and Lambert (6) have won eight of the last nine championships in Georgia’s largest classification and it came down to a single point last year with South Forsyth’s 105 topping Lambert’s 104 score. Lambert took the top spot this past weekend at the Forsyth Sectionals with Mill Creek, Archer, West Forsyth, North Gwinnett, Cherokee and Woodstock also booking trips to the championships. At the Hillgrove Sectionals, Hillgrove took the top spot ahead of North Paulding, East Coweta and Harrison—which took a third place finish at state last year with a 97 mark.

The action closes with the high-flying COED competition and there will be a new champion crowned for the first time in four years without three-time defending champion Mill Creek in the field. Northgate came out on top at the COED Sectionals and will be featured in a 16-squad lineup that includes Chapel Hill, 2017-18 state champion Milton, three-time state champion Peachtree Ridge, Forsyth Central and three-time COED state champion Winder-Barrow.