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School of the Week: West Laurens High

The school's cheerleading, wrestling and dance teams each brought home state championship titles

LAURENS COUNTY, Ga. — West Laurens High School's dance and cheerleading teams made program history, winning their first state championship titles.

"We knew going off that, that was the best that we had ever done," senior dancer Kristene Peavy said.

"We were definitely nervous. Especially as seniors, it was our last time ever getting out to go do something, so we didn't want to mess it up and we really wanted to give our all," senior cheerleader Ella Newsome said.

Success does not come easy. Dance coach Shellie Mclemore and Cheer coach Hollie Beale explain how they practiced through a pandemic.

"At one time, the whole team was quarantined for 14 days. So, we relied on virtual practices and we had to practice from home and coach from home, and there were other times where only a few of them were at home and we were at practice," Mclemore said.

"It's kind of hard being able to turn in your own home, you know you have to have a lot of space and a nice floor," junior dancer Kathryn Howard said.

"The level of sacrifice required to even compete, much less win, is something that a lot of people just don't understand," Beale said.

"It wasn't just eight months of a season, it's been seven years coming for all of us cheering together, so it was just all of our hard work did pay off," Newsome said.

Junior Chase Horne also brought home another state title for the wrestling program. At 285 pounds, he's the number one wrestler in the country for his weight class.

RELATED: West Laurens' Chase Horne wins third state championship

"I was a little bit more confident this year than the past few years at state. It was good to kind of get that relief off my shoulders, Horne said.

With three state championship wins across three different sports, West Laurens is at an all time high.

"Putting West Laurens on the cheer map," senior cheerleader Abby Mullis said.

"It's great to be a Raider!" Howard said.

"It's a great day to be a Raider!" Beale said.

"We're thankful for West Laurens and to be a Raider! It's Awesome!" Mclemore said.

This is only the second year the Georgia High School Association recognized dance as a sport.

Wrestler Chase Horne is committed to NC State on a wrestling scholarship.


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