LFO look­ing to im­prove from last year’s fin­ish

Walker County Messenger - - Sports - By Scott Herpst

Op­ti­mism is high among the com­pe­ti­tion cheer­lead­ing squad at LFO this sea­son.

Coach Heather Byrd has a ros­ter packed with ex­pe­ri­ence and she be­lieves this year’s ros­ter is as tal­ented as any squad that LFO has ever put on the floor.

“They’ve been phe­nom­e­nal so far and this might be the most tal­ent LFO has had on a cheer­lead­ing squad in years,” she said. “We’ve had some se­ri­ous injuries al­ready and that’s hurt them a lot, but it’s still one of the most tal­ented teams LFO has had since the (com­pe­ti­tion) pro­gram was started back up.”

While injuries are a part of any ath­letic team, Byrd said other girls have stepped right up when their num­ber is called.

“This year we have sev­eral al­ter­nates,” she ex­plained. “Some years you might have just one or two, but this year we started out with four and we have four good ones. It’s four that we can put on the floor two days be­fore com­pe­ti­tion and they can fig­ure it out.”

The Red-and­White is led by se­niors Michelle Dunn, Han­nah Elle­man, Mag­gie Gunn, De­an­dra Rowe, Ha­ley Tip­ton, Bra­z­lyn Valdes and Irma Velic.

“They are some of the most tal­ented girls we’ve got,” Byrd said. “They tum­ble and they stunt re­ally well. Their stunts have re­ally been awe­some this year. They are all just re­ally ath­letic cheer­lead­ers.”

The re­main­der of the team in­cludes ju­niors Macey Car­roll, Trin­ity Causby, Hol­lie Petty and Lexie Smith, while Ly­dia Biggs, Gabi Hughes and Dekeia Rowe make up the sopho­more class. This year’s fresh­man group con­sists of Juleigha Boyn­ton, Jayna Carver, Raine Hol­lis and Alexis Ward.

“There’s not one lazy person on the team and there has been al­most zero con­flict,” she said. “They are all ded­i­cated, so it’s been an in­cred­i­ble sea­son so far just as far as team­work goes and, of course, they are all just re­ally ath­letic.”

LFO, who re­cently took first in the Class AAA di­vi­sion of the Ram­bler Cheer Classic in LaFayette this past Satur­day, took third in Re­gion 6-AAA last year and Byrd said her squad has its sights on do­ing even bet­ter this fall.

“Our goal this year is

to win re­gion and then we want to do bet­ter than we’ve ever done at state,” she con­tin­ued. “We’ve done well ev­ery year and got­ten bet­ter. They’ve come so far with ev­ery­thing else, like tum­bling, but injuries are what’s killing us this year.

“If we can fight off some of the injuries, this is one of our best teams in years.”

The LFO High School com­pe­ti­tion cheer­lead­ing se­niors in­clude (from left) De­an­dra Rowe, Han­nah Elle­man, Ha­ley Tip­ton, Michelle Dunn, Irma Velci and Bra­z­lyn Valdes. Not pic­tured is Mag­gie Gunn. (Photo by Scott Herpst)

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