HEART OF CHAMPIONS: Clifton cheerleaders shine at state

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FORT WORTH – Competing against 73 Class 3A schools in the UIL State Spirit Championship held in the Fort Worth Convention Center Jan. 16, the Clifton High Varsity Cheerleading squad placed 13th overall, moving up seven spots from their 2018-19 finish.

“Knowing we were one of the smaller squads competing against the larger 3A schools gave us a chance to set reasonable goals,” said Clifton High varsity cheer coach Stacey Cockrell, who teamed with CMS cheer coach Erin Baker and CHS color guard coach Danielle Spooner

“We had four goals we wanted to achieve:  1) Perform to the best of our capability and execute a clean program, 2) Leave the cheer mat knowing we did the best we could, 3) Embrace each other as a team, and 4) have fun and make lasting memories.

“This team did all of these things and more. I cannot express how proud I am of this group of young ladies, and they will always be number one in my heart.”

The Clifton Varisty Cheerleaders competing at state were Hanna Abel, Autumn Ardeneaux, Maddie Burk, Camryn Caniford, Carley Caniford, Landry Cockrell, Sutton Finney, Katelyn Hunt, Haley Ochoa, Sara Slater, Aislyn Stevens, Alexis Valadez and Elise Webb. The Color Guard consisted of Kynli Bearden, Sadie Sanders, Maya Tremillo and Kamryn Zint.

Teams were divided into two preliminary rounds with the top 20 teams from both prelim rounds advancing to the final round to compete for the state title. Squads in Class 3A may compete with a maximum of 20 participants, which can include three or fewer males.  The 20 members can include cheerleaders, flag runners, mascots, color guard and drum line.

The preliminary round consists of three routines: fight song, band dance and crowd-leading. Each preliminary routine must not exceed one minute. 

For the final round, teams put all of this together with a three-minute time limit. Finals also include a game day situational call where the teams have to respond with either an offense or defense sideline chant, depending on the audio cue.

Photos by DAVID HARDING