Colonels, Warriors cheer squads earn state tourney berths

November 8, 2010

Star staff report

ORANGE- Even though James Wood and Sherando High School's competition cheerleading teams are rivals, the two teams will get the unique chance of supporting each other in Saturday's Group AA state tournament.

Both James Wood and Sherando qualified for the state meet by finishing in the top four at the Region II tournament at Orange County High School on Saturday.

The Colonels finished third, and the Warriors followed in fourth. Briar Woods won the regional crown, and Broad Run was the runner-up.

And both the Colonels and Warriors plan to cheer for each other as they represent the Northwestern District at this weekend's state meet at Virginia Commonwealth University's Siegel Center in Richmond.

Colonels coach Tracy Copley said her team put in a lot of practice time, including some six-day weeks, to prepare for the postseason tournaments.

"We set that goal at the beginning of the season," said Copley, whose team won the Northwestern District championship on Oct. 27. "I've been with [the team] for three years, and I have nine seniors. This was a goal we set back in August."

James Wood's senior cheerleaders include Samantha Bennett, Lauren Parrish, Lauren Hepler, Sarah Reeves, Megan Valentine, Jade Barber, Ashley Kensinger and alternates Jordan Bayer and Alisha Vernocy. While the Colonels will be making their first trip in Copley's three seasons as coach, Sherando earned its fourth consecutive state tournament berth.

Grim said his seven seniors have provided a lot of leadership, qualifying for states each year since they were freshmen.

"It's a very good run," Sherando coach Tom Grim said. "Just getting to state is a great accomplishment. We're in a wicked region."

Sherando's seniors include Ashley Ardinger, Caitlyn Bailey, Jenna Bruce, Chelsea Grim, Jessica Homa, Morgan Hoenig, and Lindsay Haddox.

Grim said it's the first time in his six seasons with the program that two Frederick County teams have qualified for the state tournament.

"The girls all know each other and root for each other," Grim said. "It's awesome. It's a lot of fun."

"It's exciting that both of us are able to go," added Copley. "We're all supportive of each other, and I'm glad it can be that way between two rival teams."

Clarke County qualified for Saturday's Region B tournament at East Rockingham High School, but the Eagles did not advance to the second round. Strasburg won the Region B title.

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