By STEPHANIE KRUCZEK, Contributor
In its second year competing as a co-ed squad, Vandegrift’s competition cheer team, under the direction of head coach Brianna Roughton and coach Rachel Hoyle, won the bronze medal at the 2020 UIL Spirit State Championship held Jan. 16 in Fort Worth. The team placed first in the Crowd Leading category, second in Fight Song and fifth in Band Dance.
The team’s overall third place finish is Vandegrift’s highest finish at UIL’s annual spirit competition, matching a bronze medal performance in 2016 in the 5A division.
Perennial co-ed division powers Keller Fossil Ridge and Azle placed first and second, respectively, with Vandegrift just 0.6 points behind first place.
One of the keys to this year’s success, Roughton said, was having the opportunity to perform the routine in front of an audience and receive feedback from choreographers at a show-off event in San Antonio in December.
“The fine-tuning we were able to do after the show-off really helped us maximize our scores,” Roughton said. “It was also a big advantage that our team is filled with veterans who competed at UIL last year.”
Team captain Riley Francis said medaling at competition is particularly sweet for the team’s 14 seniors.
“Each year we’ve been able to build on the prior year’s success, and it feels great to bring home a medal in our final outing,” Francis said. “I’m excited to see what next year’s team will do!”
The co-ed division also featured two other LISD high school cheer teams: Vista Ridge (fourth place) and Rouse (eighth place). Cedar Park High School placed fifth in the 5A-DI division.
VHS Cheer UIL Competition Team
Cady Grace Wynn