The MP competition cheerleaders compete at the state meet on Friday. (Photo/Russ Campbell)

The MP competition cheerleaders compete at the state meet on Friday. (Photo/Russ Campbell)

Mary Persons High School competition cheerleading team placed third at the state competition last Friday at the Macon Centreplex.  The team was very excited to place in the top three in the state.  Dawson County High School placed first, while Pierce County High School placed second.  Mary Persons finished only one point behind Pierce County.

While the team’s state performance was very good, Coach Kyle Ward did not think it was the best they had done this season.  One challenging part of competitive cheerleading is there is so much pressure to perform perfectly at the last competition of the season.  So much is riding on those final two and a half minutes.  Some teams perform great, while other teams may make some minor mistakes.  Both talent and luck play a part in cheerleading competitions.

The one-man stunts looked great during Mary Persons’ state performance, with all five groups staying in the air.  One group did have a small bobble, and that affected the execution score.  The pyramid was perfect with no mistakes.  The primary stunt also did well but also had one bobble that affected the execution score.  Bobbles do not result in a fall, and often, the girls recover that portion of the performance well and continue with the routine.  The standing and running tumbling looked great, but the timing could have played a role in the execution score.

A huge takeaway from the state competition was the energy that the team had during their performance.  They stood out as a team and looked like they truly enjoyed performing for the crowd.  A big part of that energy came from the huge fan base that came out to support the team.  Mary Persons had twice the amount of fans than any other team had at the Macon Centreplex.  The team is very appreciative of the support from the Monroe County community.

Coach Ward felt that overall, the girls had an extremely successful season.  They had six first-place finishes, including a fifth consecutive region title, one second-place finish, and a third-place finish at state.  The team lost eight seniors from last year, so the coaches had to figure out how to put all of the new puzzle pieces together to make the team successful again.  This was a rebuilding year, but the team and coaches worked incredibly hard and had an amazing season that should only get better.

The team will be losing two seniors, Campbell Brown and Sadie Icenhour.  But, potentially, the team could have 17 girls return next year along with some new additions from the junior varsity and middle school teams.  Coach Ward encourages the athletes to use this time off to perfect their current skills and gain more skills in order to be even more talented and competitive next year.  After all, it is consistent hard work that breeds success.