Boonsboro cheerleaders

April 07, 1998|By LISA GRAYBEAL

by Richard T. Meagher / staff photographer

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It wasn't practice that made the Boonsboro High School's varsity cheerleading squad perfect in this year's Eastern Cheerleaders Association Grand Finals competition.

Even though the 12-member squad brought home two grand champion trophies - a first in the school's history and in Washington County - the perky group admits they were still making changes to their routines a few days before they left for the competition at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Va.

"We're a last-minute group. We do things under pressure," said Katie Gooch-Herring, 17, a senior and captain of the squad.

This time it worked, though not without testing the nerves of Coach Donna Conway, who's worked with Boonsboro cheerleaders for 17 years.


"Normally we're prepared. This year we weren't even sure if we were going to go. But they pulled it off," Conway said.

Dressed in their royal blue, white and gray uniforms, the all-female squad dazzled the judges with their expression, spirit and excitement and the difficulty level of their jumps, stunts, and tumbling routines, according to the comment sheets filled out by each one.

The squad won the grand championships in the cheer classic division and the invitational portion of the competition. They also won third place in the dance division.

Besides the awards, the squad also was invited to go to the Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl and four of the cheerleaders were selected to go to the Pro Bowl, Conway said.

On March 27, the squad traveled to Annapolis on the invitation of Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, who presented them with a certificate.

In past years, the squad has started practicing a year before competing in the grand finals.

The annual two-day competition hosts nearly 300 varsity and junior varsity cheerleading squads from the east coast, all vying for the grand championships in several different categories.

Conflicting schedules with extracurricular activities and part-time jobs kept the Boonsboro squad from sticking to regular practice sessions this year.

"This squad is very busy," Gooch-Herring said.

Even when it came to crunch time during the last week before the competition, the girls were making up new steps to a dance and they weren't landing some of the difficult jumps and stunts they had worked into their cheerleading routine.

Once they arrived at the college, they had little opportunity to perfect their cheers since the squad was only given three minutes to warm up in a small room before the competition started, Conway said.

But the cheerleaders said they focused on having fun during the competition, which was probably what helped them most.

"That's the thing. We weren't nervous. I think that's why we did so well. We weren't nervous at all," said Kim Smith, 17, a senior and co-captain of the squad.

The squad is made up of sophomores, juniors and seniors listed as follows: Katie Gooch-Herring, captain; Kim Smith, co-captain; Jami Wolfe, co-captain; Janet Abrecht, Jessie Mullenix, Amy Sullivan, Katrina Woodhams, Amber Syme, Monica Yeager, Nicki Linton, Lisa Talley and Shana Brown.

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