AC Cheer Pic

Members of the Alcorn Central Cheer Team run onto the mat on the floor at the Mississippi Coliseum last week prior to performing a Game Day routine that earned them the best finish in team history.

GLEN – After a 10-year wait, the Alcorn Central High School Cheer Team finally placed in the top-2 at last week’s Game Day Cheer Championships at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.

It was AC’s best finish ever in the competition.

“In 2011 we finished third so yes, this is a new best for us and I couldn’t be prouder of a group of girls as I am this one,” said Central cheer coach Amy Smith.

In an added twist, the team only started practicing and preparing their routine in September when most schools begin as early as the spring of the previous school year.

“We were actually supposed to start practicing our performance in August but I had to reschedule the start time a few times because of various reasons,” said Smith. “In my opinion, it really helped that we have so many juniors and seniors on the squad that have an advanced maturity about them and leadership qualities. Seven of our 15 members are seniors and we also have several juniors so it is considered an older team.”

Smith took over as AC’s cheer coaching duties in 2013 after former coach Tina Hatfield stepped down. For the first six years of the current coach’s career, Central competed in the performance division.

It was only recently that the Lady Bears cheer team made the move to the ultra-competitive Game Day division.

“We switched to the Game Day division two years ago, so this is still rather new to our girls,” said the state runner-up coach. “And it really is a big deal to us to finish second because first, it’s been 10 years since we even placed at all and second, we went down to Jackson realistically thinking a top-five showing would be great. So to finish second to a veteran team like Kossuth is a big accomplishment for us.”

Not only did they place second, Central and KHS were the only two 3A squads in the state to score at 90 points or better.

“Overall we finished with a score of 90.6. just 2.4 points behind Kossuth,” said Smith. “Our two teams were the only ones in 3A to reach the 90 point level.”

The squad leader, and her assistant Amanda Davis, had Tupelo-based choreographer David Schuch – who owns and operates Ace of North Mississippi and has coached numerous All-Star teams – plan the routine and all the AC girls did was go out on the floor of the Coliseum and nail their performance.

“I think the girls just wanted to prove themselves more than anything,” Smith continued, “And to be taken seriously. They cheer for all the games on the sideline and they are noticed but many times they feel they are taken for granted. Several of our girls are multi-sport athletes and that only helps when it comes to the athleticism and moves they have to perform.”

“I am just so proud of our young ladies and it was kind of ironic because I hardly ever get emotional but when our names were called as state runners up I just broke down and started crying when I saw the look on our girls’ faces. They were a little bit in shock because even though they knew they had nailed their routine ultimately it’s up to the judges.”

According to Smith she and Davis are already looking ahead to next year.

“We’ve already started planning for next year and how we can get even better and maybe finally win a state title. That would be the ultimate accomplishment for our team and our school.”

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