The motto for this year's Briarwood Academy varsity cheerleaders can be summed up in just three words: Practice makes perfect.
And practice is what this group of 16 young ladies has been doing repeatedly over the past several weeks to get prepared for local competitions and the Class AA State Championship.
These Buccaneer cheerleaders will be traveling to the campus of Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville this Saturday, Dec. 4, to participate in the GISA Class AA State Competition.
Practice has indeed made the 2004 season perfect for Briarwood Academy. On Nov. 20, this corps of athletes captured the school's first ever cheerleading championship in a competition.
Briarwood Academy and six other Class AA schools participated in the heart of Georgia Cheerleading Invitational at First Presbyterian Day School in Macon. The Buccaneer cheerleaders captured first place in this event over other schools such as Bulloch Academy, Curtis Baptist, Westwood Academy, Mt. Pisgah, Calvary Christian and Memorial Day School.
The cheerleaders who represented Briarwood Academy in this competition were Kelley Wills, Amy McGee, Melisa Newsome, Britt Edwards, Courtney Price, Ali Dyson, Heather Neal, Liz Grant, Amanda Rutkowski, Abby McAvoy, Blair Moyer, Joy Dudley, Brooke Wiley, Whitney McTier, Sam Jenkins and Samantha Arthur. Their coaches are Mary Lynn Reese and Amy Hadden.
The squad was also presented some special awards for their participation in this event. The group captured the Best Choreography Award over all participants in Class AA and Class AAA out of 12 squads. Amanda Rutkowski also won the Tumble Championship.
"The girls have worked extremely hard this season in achieving different goals," Reese said. "Not only was winning in Macon the first time in Briarwood Academy history that a cheer squad has won a competition, but it was also a first for any Briarwood varsity squad to perform such difficult stunts."
The Buccaneer cheerleaders began their competitive season on Nov. 6 with a second place finish in the Spirit of Sandersville. In this competition, six teams from Class AA and Class AAA were combined.
"We have really worked on giving it our best this year, but also remembering to have a good time doing it," Reese said. "We try to live by the memory verse of Phil. 4:13, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.'"