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Briarwood cheerleaders win third straight title

MARTINEZ, Ga. -- They brought the house down, so to speak.

As soon as the Briarwood Academy Competitive Cheerleaders hit the mat, they were more than eager to perform.

And perform they did for hundreds of spectators inside Boardman Athletic Complex at Augusta Preparatory School during the Georgia Independent Schools Association Class AA Competitive Cheerleading state championships.

The Briarwood Academy Competitive Cheerleaders, the twice-defending state champions of 2008 and 2009, had to wait nearly two hours before learning that they had successfully defended their title.

"This is great, just great," exclaimed Briarwood Academy Competitive Cheerleading head coach Amy Hadden. "They are fighters -- real fighters. They performed so well. I'm very, very proud of all of them."

Assistant coach Lisa Newsome shared those sentiments.

"It's wonderful," said coach Newsome. "They did a great. They worked so hard and never gave up."

The Briarwood Academy Competitive Cheerleaders won three earlier competitive cheerleading events this year. The school holds another record in being undefeated in competition the past three years.

Morgan Reese, the squad's only senior, proudly walked up and accepted the championship trophy from Augusta Prep Athletic Director Tom Holodak.

"Wow, we're three-peat champions," said a jubilant Reese, who along with teammates kept their fingers crossed before the announcement was made that they had won their third consecutive state title. Reese said it had been a wonderful experience to be a member of the school's competitive cheerleading team.

"It's been great, said Reese, who plans to attend Georgia College and study nursing. She would like to someday work as a registered nurse, assigned to the labor and delivery of infants at an area hospital.

Six members of the Briarwood Academy Competitive Cheerleading Team have performed together all three championship years. They include: Ashlyn Dent, Shannon Newsome, Marcie Rivers, Taylor Rabun, Sara Betts Brunner and Kayla Rhodes.

"It's pretty awesome," said Newsome. "It's an exciting feeling. We worked our butts off."

Ironically, the word, "Work" was the Briarwood Academy Competitive Cheerleading theme this year.

"All of their hard work really paid off," said coach Hadden.

Everything the squad did on championship day was masterful and timed to perfection.

Each competitive cheerleading squad is allowed only 2 1/2 minutes to perform for judges who rate them on various techniques, including choreography.

"It was exhilarating," said Brunner.

Mayleigh Adams, a freshman, said the feeling of winning another competitive cheerleading state championship "was exciting. It feels great."

Ashlyn Dent, a junior, praised the support the competitive cheerleading team has received this year.

"Our fans are the best in the world," said Dent.

Teammate Ariel Russell, a sophomore, added, "When you have a lot of support like that, it let's you know you're appreciated. It makes you work even harder to do your best."

Web posted on Thursday, November 25, 2010

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