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When the South Oldham cheerleading season started, coaches Abby Korfhage and Lindsay Combest didn’t know what to expect. Now, months later, it’s safe to say they have a pretty good idea of where their team stands after winning a pair of national championships at the America’s Best Cheer and Dance Competition in Gatlinburg, Tenn., Dec 1-2.
The process to get where they are now hasn’t been an easy one though.
“They are better now than I thought they would be,” Korfhage said. “We had a couple of girls quit early this year and the teaam really came together and worked hard to make the necessary adjustments. Girls overcame their fears in tumbling and they just keep getting better and better, which is the greatest thing to see as a coach.”
That made it all the more rewarding, the coach said, when her team was announced as a winner in two categories at the two-day event, grabbing first place in Advanced and Intermediate Non-Spring Varsity Cheer divisions.
“It’s hard to describe, but just to see your girls who have worked so hard to finally come out on top is just awesome,” she said. “Every coach deserves to feel the way we did after this weekend, just to see the girls be proud of themselves and the look in their eyes when they realized how great they did makes all the time and effort we put in totally worth it.”
Two areas in particular played large roles in those wins as Korfhage highlighted advanced tumbling skills and the intermediate pyramid as key components of each routine.
While tumbling was a strength from the beginning — and some of the best Korfhage said she or Combest has seen in their four years at South — the pyramid was a work in progress as some girls entered the year with no competition experience.
The Lady Dragons’ Advanced squad built a comfortable seven point lead on day one with score a 79.95 and added an 83.30 to finish with a cumulative 81.63, nearly 8 points better than runner up, Marshall County. The Intermediate squad didn’t fare bad either, scoring a cumulative score of 80.110 to secure their championship.
As they move forward, Korfhage said there is still plenty to work on but that five seniors — Kenize King, Paige Mefford, Christina Doukas, Hailee Heibert and Rachel Jackson — will be looked to to push the team to improve.
“Our biggest strength is each other,” Korfhage said. “We truly are a family. We do not have cliques like other teams, everyone encourages each other and everyone gets along great, it’s pretty amazing for a group of 28 high school girls. Every single person on the team plays such an important role. Every individual makes the team as great as it is. We can’t win without them and they can’t win without the rest of their team.”
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