Lexington wins Class 5A competitive cheer qualifier
The top contenders for the SC High School League competitive cheer Class 5A title come from Region 5-5A.
Lexington High School led a quartet of region teams which placed in the top 5 of the Class 5A qualifier held Saturday at Dorman High School.
The Lady Wildcats scored 320 to place 1st among the 12 qualifiers. It was followed in 2nd place by archrival River Bluff (309), defending Class 5A champion Chapin (307) in 3rd, St. James (304) in 4th place and Dutch Fork (280) in 5th place.
“It’s a powerhouse region,” said Lexington head coach Leigh Watson, who’s led the program to 3rd place and state runner-up the past 2 seasons. “We are very strong in the Midlands.”
The 4 teams join Airport, Gilbert and Brookland-Cayce as Chronicle Country finalist who will compete at the SCHSL championships set for Dec. 19 at the Florence Civic Center.
Rounding out the list of Class 5A qualifiers were Dorman, Fort Mill, Blythewood, Spring Valley, JF Byrnes, Summerville and Clover.
Lexington is seeking its 3rd state title since 2013, the same year River Bluff won its lone championship in Class 3A. Chapin is seeking its state-record 16th state title and 6th straight overall, while Dutch Fork looks to win its 8th championship and 1st since 2017. Airport won its lone title in Class 4A in 1996.
Despite the top finish, Watson said it wasn’t her team’s best performance. If the Lady Wildcats are to claim its 1st state title since 2015, she believes they have to practice “real hard” this week, refine their styles and “do the routine of their lives” while entertaining the crowd.
Even more important for Watson is staying safe during the pandemic. Lexington had to start the season in quarantine and she and the team members feel “incredibly grateful to be doing the sport that we love.”
"A cheerleader said it best,” Watson said. “Every day we get to compete, it makes us feel like life is normal for a little while.”