CHARLESTON — The Man High School cheerleaders made history on Saturday afternoon at the Charleston Civic Center.
Man captured its first state cheer title as MHS brought home the gold by capturing the Class A state championship.
Man, which finished with 322.45 points, had been the Single-A state runner-ups the last two years but went over the top this time, taking down two-time defending state champion Clay-Battelle which was third. Clay, which has won 11 overall state cheer titles, was 15 points behind with a 307.05.
Bishop Donahue (307.80) was second, Williamstown (286.25) fourth and Tug Valley (281.50) fifth. Tucker County (252.95), Wahama (244) and Tygarts Valley (232.05) brought up the rear.
Man High School had won state championships in two other sports before Saturday — three crowns in girls softball (1983, 2008 and 2009) and on in baseball (2014).
The Man cheerleaders added to the school’s state title tradition and rocked the house with a flawless routine filled with top-notch tumbling and gymnastics and high-flying stunts.
Man cheer coach Tina Goodman said it was the culmination of years of hard work by her athletes.
“Our team just never gave up,” Goodman said. “We pushed them to do harder stunts and more tumbling. We pushed them to make everything harder and make them the best that they can be. They are awesome and they are not afraid to try harder things to make themselves better.”
Goodman said taking second place the last two years was a motivating factor.
“It’s wonderful to win the state championship,” she said. “I’m extremely proud of how hard that they worked and all of the time that they put in. It’s paid off. We don’t quit because something doesn’t work the first time. We keep at it. They really worked hard this year and they deserve it. It was an honor to come in second the last two years but when you work as hard as you do it makes you work even harder to make yourselves better.”
Goodman said the difference this year was Man’s much more difficult stunts. The Man cheerleaders, which had won the regional title recently, were able to pull off its routine without a hitch.
“We have strong tumbling but this year I think our difference has been that we have some really good flyers that have come up,” she said. “We have better body positions. We were able to do much harder stunts. Our pyrimid was probably one of the hardest in the state. We’re proud of them. We have pushed them to be the best that they can be.”
Man has five seniors on the roster including Madisyn Lusk, Savannah McCormack and Mitchell Morris, the only male on the team, and a pair of alternates.
Morris said winning the state title was a great way to go out.
“It’s the best feeling that I’ve ever felt my whole life to be honest,” Morris said. “After getting two state runner-ups you just get hungry for the championship.”
McCormack said the team was motivated from the very start when practices began back in August.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” she said. “We were tired of coming in second and we were ready to get first. We went out there and got it. I’m so happy to be a part of the Hillbilly state championship family. It’s a great feeling.”
“To not win the last few years made us work harder,” she said. “All the teams were awesome today, so it’s a great feeling and an honor. It’s amazing.”
The Man cheerleaders are also made up of: juniors Kaden Chafin and Sydney Keffer; sophomores Destinee Cook, Hannah Greene, Chandler McCormack and Julia Mullins; and freshmen Summer Bragg, Halie Duba, Hannah Duba and Megan McDaniels.
The alternates are seniors Sammy Sansom and Destiny Beckett and freshmen Emma Anderson and Lara Owens.
In Class AA, Robert C. Byrd won the state championship, edging out Tolsia, which was second.
Chapmanville Regional High School also competed in the Class AA state tourney for the first time in nine years.
The Chapmanville cheerleaders are compried of: seniors Aundrea Mullins and Katie Nel; juniors Allison Bragg, Candice Clay, Faith Ferrell, Rachel Surgoins and Alicia Walker; sophomores Sarah Butcher and Zoe Kirk; and freshmen Tabitha Adkins, Maddie Chambers, Haley Cline and Carrie Kirkendoll. CRHS is coached by Samantha Mullins.
Also taking part in the Class AA field was Westside and Wyoming East.
Tug Valley’s cheerleaders are made up of: seniors Cassidy Runyon and Jadrian Saunders; juniors Natalie Ooten and Lauren Ferris; sophomores Skylar Mitchell, Bekah White, Tori Deskins, Maxi Jude and Tori Saunders; and freshmen Madison Carey, Halie Asebes, Brittany Moore and Haylee Workman. The alternate is Skylar Hanshaw. TVHS is coached by Tara Mitchell.