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Security Federal Athletes of the Week: Feb. 12-19

Partnering with Security Federal, the Warren County Sports Authority will honor a standout local athlete each week. The WCSA and the Friendliest Bank in Town love seeing great athletic achievement and there are plenty to pick from every week in Warren County. From winter to summer, spring to fall, and on courts, fields, diamonds, dance floors and anywhere else an athlete can succeed, Security Federal and the Sports Authority are going to be on the lookout for the best of the best!

WCHS football cheerleaders

Nationally ranked is not something you hear much about Warren County teams, but the WCHS football cheerleaders are no ordinary squad. During last weekend's trip to Orlando, the local cheerleaders put on a show while cementing their status as one of the top groups in the country.

Competing against 58 other teams in the Medium Varsity Non-Tumbling Game Day competition in the UCA Nationals, Warren County got an immediate bid into the finals following a nearly flawless opening routine. Warren County won Group D in the prelims, scoring a 94.1 - nearly two points better than second place.

The performance was one of the top showcases of the day throughout all the events at the UCA Nationals. The WCHS Cheerleaders ranked in the top 20 that day for their opening score, an impressive feat considering over 1,000 performances were scored in Orlando during the day.

The dominant opening performance vaulted the WCHS cheerleaders to the finals, bypassing a semifinals knockout round for teams that didn't win their preliminary group. By the end of the day, the WCHS cheerleaders were one of just 17 groups left to compete for a national championship.

They didn't wilt under pressure in finals; Instead, the WCHS football cheerleaders flourished. They upped their team score to 95.5 in the finals, helping the group notch a fifth-place finish in the UCA Nationals.

"I am so proud of how hard this team has worked all season, and they never gave up. We have had many challenges this season but we had one goal - get to finals at Nationals.," said coach Stacey Elam, who recently announced she is retiring as coach of the football cheerleaders. "The girls went out on the mat and gave such an awesome performance. They scored so high on Day 1 that they went straight to finals, which is a very hard task. This was the first time this program has done.

"This was truly the best moment of the trip. The excitement and tears from everyone when we heard our name was the best feeling. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of cheerleaders this season."

The WCHS cheerleaders earned their spot in Orlando by showing out at the Tennessee Extreme Regional held in November. Since they secured their spot among the elite teams and knew a trip to Florida was awaiting in February, the group has put in hours and hours of training weekly to perfect their craft.

It was enough to be recognized as one of the top teams in the nation last week.

The WCHS cheerleading squad features Bella Blankenship, Ansley Crouch, Ashton Crouch, Ashleigh Foster, Sam Gribble, Mia Henry, Emma Hillis, Caitlyne Hutton, Olivia Jones, Laurna Beth McCormick, Bree McGee, Camdyn Porter, Ava Sexton, Jaylie Shehane, Molly Smith, Kalia Stewart, Olivia Walker, Paisley Wanamaker and Ashlynn Wells.

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