By Matthew Yoder
Photos courtesy of Arcadia Cheerleading team parents and coaches
The Arcadia Firebirds’ impressive journey in cheer ended with an eighth place finish Saturday at the state competition in Richmond. Admitting it wasn’t their best performance, coach TJ Smith nonetheless spoke positively of his team’s historic season.
“I know they could have done better but I’m still thankful and blessed to have had the opportunity to coach such an amazing group of boys and girls,” said Smith.
Near the eve of the competition the team faced the added challenge of having to replace one of its injured members, Kamron Downing. “Friday night after the game we had to stay at the school and redo some stuff,” Smith said.
Smith alluded to continuity issues, which he had hoped to avoid going into the competition.
“When a link on a chain is broken you can put that chain back together but it’s never as strong as it was. I think the team’s mojo was just off with the loss of a member,” said Smith.
Under tested circumstances, Smith’s roster was filled admirably by alternate Collin Marshall.
“Collin stepped right in and made it happen,” said Smith. The competition was a third consecutive coronation for Stuarts Draft. For Smith, who came as a coach and stayed as interested spectator, the performance was transcending.
“They were breathtaking, it was amazing to watch,” Smith said. Of his own team, Smith ended with great praise.
“I’m very proud of them for making it to this point. This will be a year I will never forget.”