By Myra Bean
Countless hours of practicing and sacrifice are about to be showcased as the South Panola competitive cheerleading squads prepare for national competition.
They leave Thursday, for Orlando for the National High School Cheerleading Championship which will be held February 8-10 at the Walt Disney World Resort.
This is the sixth year South Panola High School competitive cheerleaders and the second year for the South Panola Junior High competitive cheerleaders have attended this competition.
Cheerleaders have faced adversity this year, but are determined to move forward, according to head coach Tammy Wilkinson.
“This has been a very difficult year for our squad,” she said. “We have moved up three eighth grade girls to compete with us at Nationals. These girls are young. We have only five seniors out of the 29.
“This squad has worked extremely hard to overcome some difficult obstacles,” Wilkinson continued. “ More than anything, their best asset is heart. They work hard, and they believe in themselves.”
The highest both squads have been ranked is No. 5. Last year the junior high squad was ranked No. 5 while the high school came in No. 6. The high school was ranked No. 5 the previous year.
South Panola will compete with 58 other squads in their division. They compete in semi-finals on Sunday, February 10 at 12:30 p.m. The top 20 squads will move to the finals Sunday night.
Squads will perform their routines for the public during family night Wednesday at the Batesville Jr. High gymnasium beginning at 5:30 p.m. There is no charge and everyone is invited to attend.