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January 25, 2014

2-time district cheer champs in state semis

Milton looks to top 8th-place 2013 finish in today’s routine

HERSHEY — It was a roller-coaster type of day Friday, Traci Ferguson said, but her Milton Area High competitive cheerleading squad earned a berth in the state championship semifinals with 61.77 points in the small-varsity division.

“We had some setbacks early in the day that caused us to worry how we’d do,” Ferguson said of her squad of girls in grades 9 through 12. “We had to have a freshman switch positions, do some things she hadn’t done before, and we weren’t sure how she’d do under pressure. But everyone came together and I was very proud of how they all did. We performed with a lot of energy. We got it together and made the semifinals.”

Competitive cheerleading is in its second year of sanctioning by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Ten have PIAA experience

The two-time District 4 champions will take to the mats at 10 this morning at the Giant Center, trailing first-place Butler, which has 84.37 points.

Ten of Ferguson’s cheerleaders return from the 2013 team that finished eighth in the state championships, but in the large-varsity division.

“Having girls with experience helped a lot because they knew what to expect in terms of pressure and having to perform in a highly competitive situation,” she said. “It certainly paid off in leadership. They were great and I think their leadership came through when we had that setback in the morning.”

The girls’ routine is only 2½ minutes long. Regardless of today’s outcome, the squad has again qualified for February’s nationals in Florida, where it finished fourth in 2013.

Southern Columbia, which also qualified for the PIAA championships, did not advance to the semifinals.

n Email comments to rdandes@dailyitem.com.

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