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Gila Ridge cheer wins AIA state title

GRHS cheer team Gila Ridge High School varsity cheerleaders were crowned the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) Division I-II Coed Champions on Saturday, Mar. 6, 2021 at Poston Butte High School.

The Hawks finished with a score of 81.50, which was more than 5.0 points ahead of second-place Willow Canyon, and included a perfect 50.0 in the music category. It is the school’s first-ever AIA state title in cheer/spiritline.

“This is a group of kids who show up every day and put in the work, 8 at night or 6 in the morning,” said GRHS Cheer Coach Sarah Dains. “They wanted to be successful no matter what it took.”

The Hawks have recently competed in previous state championships, finishing in seventh place last season.

Members of this year’s team include: Kenzie Scott, Kaytlyn Daffern, Dawson Lemmon, Elaina LaVin, Emma Butler, Corbin Clark, Abby Shew, Brooke Nash, Jason Nguyen, Alyssa Ortiz, Blake Shew, Tamia Butler, Adriana Frost, Colton Huett, Kandyn Delaney, MaKayla Mueller, and Alexes Escalante.

According to AIA, show cheer combines all the elements of cheerleading in a 2-minute and 30 second routine, broken up into two elements – 1 minute of a crowd leading cheer, 1 minute and 30 seconds of music. Teams perform stunts, tumbling, jumps, and a dance during music section(s) and also focus on showcasing their male athletes with a variety of coed skills,

including coed partner stunting. Crowd leading props such as signs, poms, megaphones, and flags are encouraged to be used during the cheer section.

James Kuzniak