Pinewood cheerleaders claim second consecutive state title
The Pinewood Prep Competition Cheerleaders won the SCISA AAA Championship at Newberry College on Saturday, marking this the second straight year the Panthers have claimed the state cheer title.
Teams in the division for 2013 included Hammond School, Cardinal Newman, Augusta Christian and Pinewood Prep. Pinewood’s final score was 261, with Hammond placing second at 248. Cardinal Newman placed third with a score of 223, and Augusta Christian came in at 190.
“We are honored to be in a division with so much incredible talent,” Pinewood coach Merrell Mann said. “Hammond has been a challenging competitor this year and we knew we were going to have to raise the bar to win at State.”
In order to prepare for State this year, the team also competed at Oakbrook Prep in Spartanburg, Eau Claire High School in Columbia, and twice at AC Flora High School in Columbia.
The Pinewood team consists of 22 girls from grades seven through 12. Its captains are Aurie Engel Schmieding, Annelise Kauffman, Lily Mandell, Dana Van Houten and Logan Mann. This was a particularly emotional win for Seniors Van Houten and Mann, as they are the first to graduate having cheered every year at Pinewood since Kindergarten at the age of 5.
But with so many members of the team eligible to return, the Panthers have their sights set on a three-peat.
“In 2014 we expect our division to be even closer, as next year’s Cardinal Newman team will also pose a very serious threat,” coach Dee Devlin said. “The thought of three straight titles is beyond any challenge we’ve faced, but it’s a challenge I know our girls will be ready for.”
Remaining team members include Madison Buddin, Judith Anne Gibson, Trevor Tucker, Anna Kassing, Rachel Trout, Sophia Radebaugh, Mary Lesesne McIntosh, Alex Hammersley, Parker Dwyer, Hayes Devlin, Chloe Cook, Alli Craig, Grace Johnson, Emily Charpia, Baylee Blume, Frances McIntosh and Lauren Evan Gilmer.
Sarah Collins also serves as a coach for the team.