CHS Cheer Squad Competing at UIL State Spirit Championship
Members of the Cleburne High School JV and Varsity cheer squads received a student body sendoff Thursday afternoon as they headed to Fort Worth for the 2023 UIL Spirit State Championship.
Cleburne has been a spirited competitor since joining the list of participating teams in 2018. Cheerleading was sanctioned as a UIL sport in 2016, with the state spirit contest established one year later.
The two-day event is taking place at the Fort Worth Convention Center, opening with Friday’s qualifying round. Competing squads from 1A-6A high schools will be judged on their school spirit and Game Day skills in three performance events: fight song, cheer/crowd leading and band dance. Cleburne is scheduled to perform at 6:17 p.m. Squads advancing to Saturday’s finals will be announced at 8 p.m.
Coach Christian Hardin believes the Jacket Cheerleaders will be among the finalists at this year’s contest involving more than 70 teams in 5-A Division 1.
“We began working toward this contest during summer cheer camp,” Hardin said. “Our captains and team as a whole set goals and expectations for the year, including our success in state cheer competition.”
“This team is by far the strongest we’ve taken to the state championship,” she said. “They are excited, ready to go—and hungry. They are very determined, highly athletic and won’t accept anything but the best in their performance.”
The Jackets cheer squad has tested and critiqued their presentation as participants in several area invitationals in which they have received top-ranking scores from judges.
“We expanded on our competition schedule this year, which I think has been very positive in preparing for state,” Hardin said. “We’ve always been a tenth of a point from making it to the finals. We’ve been there once. As our cheer program has continued to grow, our squads have become very competitive in taking on what Game Day is, in their role of firing up the crowd. I think, moving forward, we’ve reached that level of skill which will put us among the teams advancing to the state finals—this year and every year.
Cheer squad members competing this weekend are Addison Tapia, Alexa Roberts, Toni Fabrizio, Bianca O’Bryant, Brelynn Whitlock, Damaris Luna, Jacelyn Mayberry, Jayden Butler, Katelyn Jones, Katie Barnes, Livi Estes, Madi McClure, Makenna Shields, Mariah Morales, Kiki Medford, Marlie Marshall, MattieLu Ward, McKenzie Barnes, Morgan Marvell, Olivia McGaughey, Raegan Stone, Rayn Wickliffe, Trinity Cruz, Ava Ulum, Hayden Tennison, Jolea Irvin, Luna Cardoso, Mandy Morales, Trinity Chambers, LeeAnn Brown, Angie Andersen, Megan Baadsgaard, Rowan Cagle and Dezerea Hess. Tianey Wallace serves as assistant cheer coach.