By Matthew Yoder
Local high school cheering squads played to a packed house Tuesday night at Arcadia High School with a district title on the line. The night opened with a rousing rendition of the national anthem by Arcadia’s coach, TJ Smith. He received well-deserved applause from a thunderous crowd and helped set the tone for a tremendously spirited night on the mats and in the stands.
Each school delivered a three-minute routine and were immediately judged by an impartial group of individuals from Virginia Beach. The programs were high energy from start to finish, blending a mix of acrobatics with dance, and traditional pep chanting.
Arcadia opened the competition strongly with a large team of both boys and girls, absorbing all the energy of the home crowd and delivering it back to them, sparking deafening ovation. They were followed by the Nandua Warriors, reigning district champs, and a squad equally up to the challenge to defend. Their girls soared to great heights, and backflipped with ease, signaling a test to the gauntlet thrown down by the Firebirds.
Next was the Northampton Yellow Jackets. The dance portion of their routine was vibrant and led to a concluding routine from the Chincoteague Ponies.
While the teams awaited the results, all the squads came together to dance and relieve the tension and invited folks along the way to join in.
When the results were called, the Nandua Warriors heard their names above all else, securing both a repeat victory in districts and a return to Arcadia’s gym this coming Tuesday for the regional competition.
The agony of defeat was evident on the faces of Arcadia’s squad, but their effort was more than enough to garner the loud praise of their fans in attendance. Chincoteague finished third, and Northampton followed in fourth. The regional competition gets underway at 6 p.m. this Tuesday in Oak Hall.