Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer

Franklin High School was well represented over the weekend in Raleigh for the North Carolina Cheerleading Coaches Association State Championships on Feb. 3.

The Franklin High School varsity and junior varsity cheerleading teams both made the trip to compete and after giving perfect performances, neither being docked any points, both the cheer squads were named state champions.

“I am very proud of the accomplishments of the FHS cheerleaders,” said Franklin High School Principal Barry Woody. “Their hard work and dedication to their sport is evident in their recent wins at the state competition.”

The JV competed in  the Small JV Non-Tumble D2 and were the only team in their division. Although coaches requested the JV squad be bumped up a division to have better competition, the association didn’t honor the request but the team competed anyway with a focus on scores and feedback for nationals.

“Since NCHSAA competition in December, our JV team has been working hard to master more difficult skills and put them into their competition routine,” said Lynn Baker, JV cheerleading coach. “We went into the NCCCA Championship with one main goal:  hit our more routine with the increased skills so that we could get good judging feedback to assist us in preparation for CANAM Nationals in March. The JV ladies hit their routine solid. It definitely feels good for the girls to bring home another state championship banner and know that they represented Franklin with pride this past weekend.  We’re very proud of how hard both our JV and varsity athletes worked to prepare for their awesome performances.”

The Franklin High School varsity cheerleaders competed in the small varsity Non-Tumble D2. The team competed against four other teams from across the state. The last time both JV and varsity won a State title in the same year was 2011.

The last year that both teams won state titles was when varsity coach Taylor Rogers was a senior in high school.

“I cannot express how proud I am of this team,” said Rogers. “Despite all the adversity they have faced they kept pushing forward to accomplish their goals and dreams. They have worked so hard and they are very deserving of this. It’s a great honor. All the glory goes to God. Philippians 4:13!”

“For me, this competition was about more than just winning a trophy,” said Franklin High School Spirit Coordinator Jennifer Turner-Lynn. “Our teams have been through so much in the last year and have individually faced their own opposition and obstacles. Clearly, we both have really small teams and sometimes that feels like David going against Goliath. There is something rewarding about pushing yourself both mentally and physically and managing to come out on top.”

Turner-Lynn said watching the girls grow as individuals has been one of the greatest highlights of her career.

“My proudest moment – while winning a trophy was nice – was when varsity returned from their performance and said, ‘We decided – we’ve already won,”’ she said. “It doesn’t matter what we placed, we know we won.’ And I knew that they meant it. Both teams knew they had overcome tremendous obstacles and as a coach, that’s far more rewarding than a first place trophy. I’ve coached for 18 years, and I’ve lost a lot more than I have won, so the definition of success has to be about more than just winning.”

Both the teams are setting their sights on nationals and will be using the feedback they received at state to improve their routines.

“I am very proud of both our teams and their accomplishments at the NCCCA Competition this past weekend,” said Franklin High School Athletic Director Jay Brooks. “These girls and their coaches have put in so much time and effort in preparing for this competition. A lot of pressure is on them due to the fact that they only have two minutes to shine. They do an incredible job in being composed and executing all their routine.”

The cost for the athlete to attend nationals is $170 per athlete which does not include three nights accommodations In Myrtle Beach. The team has received a bid for nationals and will submit a request to the school board this month for permission to attend. Individuals can help support the team by purchasing sponsorships for the score table or  by sending a check to FHS.