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Troup hosts first cheerleading competition

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

For decades, Amelia Key has overseen an ultra-successful competitive cheerleading program at Troup, and she’s long wanted to host a competition at the school, but the facilities weren’t in place to make that a reality.

When approval came for a new athletic complex at Troup, Key felt the time was right to have a competitive cheerleading event at the school, and it finally happened last weekend.

The Troup County Cheer Invitational was held last Saturday in the school’s new gymnasium, with 21 combined teams competing in the middle-school and high-school divisions.

“We were thrilled,” Key said. “I’ve been coaching 30 years, and I didn’t know if I’d still be coaching when we got to host one. It was a thrill to do it in our new facility, and a lot of people got to see it for the first time. We had a lot of former cheerleaders that came back (to volunteer).”

First up was the middle-school competition with eight schools competing, including Callaway, Gardner Newman and Long Cane.

Gardner Newman delivered a standout routine, and it received the highest score and walked away with the first-place trophy.

In the high-school division, LaGrange was one of two Class AAAA teams competing along with Central-Carroll.

While LaGrange didn’t win, head coach Mike Pauley was pleased with the progress the team made.

It was LaGrange’s second competition of the season.

“They did a good job. We tried some harder things this time,” Pauley said. “We’ve been trying to progress the team, and then we ended up have three kids out, and we had three freshmen step in, and they did a super job. We kept the harder elements. We probably had a decrease in some of our scoring, but we increased some of things we were trying to do. We had seven freshmen on the floor that day. We’ve got alternates, and we wanted to make sure they got experience, and that’s what we did.”

Troup didn’t compete since it was busy running the event, but when the competition was finished, the team did perform its routine for family members. The Tigers won their first two competitions this season, but last Saturday marked the first time they performed as a complete team.

“That was the first time all year we managed to have all 16 kids,” Key said. “In December, we competed one time with 15, and one time with 12. They were super excited.”

During the competition, Troup’s team members helped out in a variety of ways, and Key was proud of the positive attitude they had throughout the day.

“We had tons of compliments from other schools about how pleasant they were, and sweet, and polite, and they were impressed with the kids,” Key said. “That’s the biggest compliment for me, when they brag on how the kids behave.”

Including the cheerleaders, Key said there were close to volunteers.

“It was all hands on deck, and everybody did an amazing job,” Key said.