Ridge­land hop­ing to im­prove re­gion stand­ing

Walker County Messenger - - Sports - By Scott Herpst

The Ridge­land High com­pe­ti­tion squad is aim­ing for greater heights this sea­son af­ter a fifth-place show­ing in the Re­gion 6-AAAA meet last year.

“We do have ex­pe­ri­enced girls that are com­ing back this year,” head coach Abby Manus said. “It’s seems to be a re­ally strong group, so I’m ex­cited.”

The Black-and­White, who per­formed in their first com­pe­ti­tion of the sea­son this past Satur­day at LaFayette, has 13 girls on its var­sity ros­ter with just two se­niors and six ju­niors, four sopho­mores and one lone fresh­man.

Lead­ing the squad are se­niors Julie Robin­son and Courtney Durham.

“They have both been just awe­some,” Manus said. “Julie is the prob­a­bly most pos­i­tive person that we have. She’s re­ally sweet. It’s her first year com­pet­ing on the floor, but she’s just jumped right in and hasn’t missed a beat. She’s su­per strong and she’s a multi-sport ath­lete. That re­ally helps.

“And we’re just lucky to have Courtney. She prob­a­bly one of the most ath­letic girls in the en­tire school and she can do it all. She tore her knee up in the off­sea­son, but she’s back and has all the same skills. If you didn’t see the (knee) brace, you would never know she had been hurt.”

A large ju­nior con­tin­gent in­cludes A’mya Collins, Al­lie In­gle, Chelsea Smith, Jas­mine Vi­dalez, Sa­van­nah Kelley and Tay­lor Ack­er­man. Kait­lyn Durham, Madi­son Witt, Makaia Pad­gett and Sa­van­nah In­gle made up the sopho­more class, while Emalee Harris is the squad’s only fresh­man.

Manus said the area her team has im­proved in the most since last year is ob­vi­ous.

“By far, it’s tum­bling,” she said. “We’re do­ing ex­tremely well there. We’ve got more round-off tucks than we’ve ever had be­fore and we’re do­ing a lot more stand­ing and tum­bling too. It’s re­ally awe­some.”

Like any other sport, injuries can hap­pen and Ridge­land is al­ready deal­ing with their share this sea­son.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate, but that’s the way cheer­ing goes some­times,” Manus ex­plained. “We’ve had to al­ter the rou­tine some. But you don’t want to go out that first week and put out the best rou­tine you’ve ever done any­way. We want to go out early (this sea­son) and hit a nice, clean rou­tine and see how we score on the new score sheet. It’s a work in progress. We’ll see what is scor­ing well and see what and how we have to ad­just later in the year.”

A change in the GHSA rules this year means that all teams will qual­ify for state, re­gard­less of where they fin­ish in the re­gion meet. How­ever, Manus said she has other goals in mind for her girls.

“I think just grow­ing and pro­gress­ing from year-to year is our big­gest goal and I think we’re suc­ceed­ing in that,” she added.

The Ridge­land High School com­pe­ti­tion cheer­lead­ing se­niors in­clude (from left) Courtney Durham and Julie Robin­son. (Photo by Scott Herpst)

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