Coral Springs Charter School will hope to bring home gold medals once again after finishing third last year in the Class 1A small non-tumbling division.
On Friday night, they paid their traditional visit to a Chili’s Restaurant and hope to cash in on Saturday with a title. They drew an automatic bid to the finals with a score of 77.70 at the Region 4 championships last week.
They will compete at 3:08 p.m. in the Florida High School Athletic Association state cheerleading championships at the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Panthers coach Rachal Garris said she was proud of her squad’s performance at the Region 4 competition held last week at Coral Glades High School and believes there is another good performance ahead.
“We are just going to have to hit our routine and performance to the best of our abilities,” Garris said. “I was so happy with their performance at regionals. They fought really hard and made sure they hit a routine with no deductions and it paid off for them in the end.
“I honestly believe we can be a little bit better and that is what we are shooting for,” Garris added. “We want to be a little bit better than we were at regionals.”
Two seniors, Olivia Smith and Krystal Wallace, were both members of the state championship teams in 2017 and 2018 and hope to go out with another title.
“It is going to take a lot of focus on us,” Smith said. “It is going to take a lot of hard work and not giving up on each other. I think the regionals was our best performance of the year and we hope to do better on Saturday.”
Wallace has also been on the team since the eighth-grade. She said last year’s finish at state has motivated her team to do better.
“The majority of the team last year were seniors, and they were disappointed,” Wallace said. “We have a new team. It was a struggle at first to get better, but we have. Going to Chili’s is also pretty cool. It gets us excited.”
A total of 3,578 cheerleaders from nearly 200 teams, the most ever, competed in the two-day competition last year. Cheer teams in the Small Division have 12 cheerleaders, followed by the Medium (13-16 cheerleaders), Large (17-20 cheerleaders) and Extra Large (21 and up).