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Yea! BHS cheerleaders rate among nation’s top

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Brookhaven High School cheerleaders provedto be one of the best squads in the nation Saturday at acompetition sponsored by the National Cheerleaders Association.

Competing against 13 high schools from all over the UnitedStates, the BHS girls won the mid-size varsity division and placedfourth in the nation, according to school officials.

“Obviously we can put our girls against anybody,” said BHSPrincipal Susan Chapman. “Just hundredths of points separated usfrom the grand champions.”

Members of the BHS cheerleading squad are Emily Oberschmidt,Lauren Grady, Lauren Payne, Ashley Farris, Catherine Carty,Brittany Coleman, Lindsey Hall, Sabrina Armstrong, Cally Moore,Lauren Mitchell, Kayla Fisher, Mary Gwen Lynch, Claire Cox, LindyLewis and Misty Ratcliff.

Chapman, who along with her husband, Ken, was among thesupporters accompanying the squad, said the top squad scored 7.98,while BHS scored 7.62.

“They have brought so much glory to themselves, the school andthe community,” said Superintendent Dr. Sam Bounds. “We’re justabsolutely beside ourselves. We are so proud of them.”

Chapman contacted Bounds via a mobile phone just moments afterthe winners were announced Saturday afternoon.

Bounds said there weren’t enough adjectives to describe hisfeelings about the BHS cheerleaders being the first squad in schoolhistory to go to nationals, and then win their division first timearound.

“I am absolutely delighted. As the kids say, ‘I’m pumped,'” hesaid.

BHS was the only high school in Mississippi competing in thenational competition. Two middle schools, one from D’Iberville andone from Biloxi, competed.

BHS won its berth in the national competition by being named topsquad at an NCA cheerleading camp last summer. They alsodouble-qualified by winning the 4A state title for this schoolyear.

“They’ve been working for this all year, and they werewonderful,” said Chapman. “I was one proud principal.”

After the competition, the 15 cheerleaders and a number ofmothers, along with sponsors Phyllis Wallace and Luatrice Taylor,enjoyed the rest of the weekend in Orlando. They spent Sunday atUniversal Studios and were expected to fly back Monday morning.

Chapman said the girls deserved to have a little fun afterworking so hard all year. She was glad their dedication paid offagainst such tough competition.

“I was impressed with every squad that got out there. We were upagainst some big high schools. Some of them had as many as 30-35cheerleaders on their squad,” she said.

Upon their return the cheerleaders will begin a week-longcheerleading clinic, beginning at 3:30 p.m. Monday at Lipsey MiddleSchool. Tryouts for next year’s squad will be held Feb. 16.