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Briarwood cheer teams spend summer in preparation

Briarwood Academy is home to a couple of cheer champs.

The school's middle school, varsity and competitive cheerleading squads recently attended various competitions.

Mary Lynn Reese and Amy Hadden are the instructors and coaches of these teams that have proved they are some of the best in the State of Georgia.

Coach Reese is the coach of middle school cheerleaders. This squad consists of 19 young ladies that spent the summer getting ready for the upcoming football season.

Team members include Ashlyn Dent, Brandy Ray, Grace Blackman-Hughes, Hannah Wilson, Jessica Oliphant, Kayla Rhodes, Kristian Dawson, Maggie Keene, Marcie Rivers, Mary Ashley Gibson, Morgan Reese, Nicole Jones, Prater Thigpen, Rachel Coxwell, Sara Betts Brunner, Savannah Carani, Shannon Newsome, Sierra Havrilla and Taylor Coxwell.

On July 23-26, the cheerleaders attended a Universal Cheerleading Association (UCA) Camp at the University of Georgia. While there, these Lady Bucs were honored with two outstanding awards.

First, they were named UCA Camp Champions in Extreme Routine, which is a dance with many stunts. Then, they earned the Camp Leadership Award - an honor voted on by the other campuses.

Coach Reese said the leadership award was especially sweet. There were 40 squads and 625 girls at the UCA camp, yet only two teams received leadership recognition: Briarwood on the middle school level and Pope High School, from Atlanta, on the varsity level.

"These awards were presented to the squads that demonstrated the best attitude and good leadership," she said. "No other Briarwood Academy squad has ever won this award. I literally cried when our name was called out."

Six of these middle school cheerleaders also tried out to become a UCA All-Star. Out of 75 girls that tried out for this distinction, the UCA association would only select 20. All six Briarwood Academy cheerleaders were selected for this very distinguished honor.

The new UCA All-Stars from Briarwood are Prater, Hannah, Kristian, Shannon, Rachel and Marcie.

Meanwhile, the varsity cheerleaders at Briarwood attended a two-day camp at the school on July 28-29. This camp was in conjunction with the Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders.

"Our camp was very low-key," said Coach Hadden, director of the Briarwood varsity cheerleading squad. "The instructors of the camp worked one on one with our girls, and this enabled our cheerleaders to use the stunts to our abilities."

For the second consecutive year, the Briarwood varsity cheerleading squad has 23 members on its roster: Abby McAvoy, Anna Goolsby, Ashleigh Newsome, Ali Dyson, Amanda Rutkowski, Caitlin Burnside, Caitlyn Quinn, Cassie Pickrell, Courtney Price, Dawn Shelton, Jessica House, Joy Dudley, Lindsey Burnley, Liz Grant, Heather Neal, Molly Muns, Page Sullivan, Samantha Arthur, Samantha Jenkins, Brooke Wiley, Sara Blackmon-Hughes, Whitney Corani and Whitney McTier.

The staff of the Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders presented the Briarwood varsity cheerleaders with a bid to the Nationals following their camp performance. Rutkowski was also given an application to become a staff member next summer.

Also, the competitive cheerleading corps of Briarwood attended a two-day camp at the school on Aug. 2-3.

The members of this squad are McAvoy, Goolsby, Newsome, Dyson, Rutkowski, Burnside, Quinn, Pickrell, Price, Shelton, House, Dudley, Burnley, Grant, Neal, Sullivan, Jenkins and Wiley.

Web posted on Thursday, August 24, 2006

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