Ridgeland hoping to improve region standing
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)