LFO looking to improve from last year’s finish
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)