Two South Carolina Competitive Cheer Powerhouses Look to Add to Impressive History This Weekend

The South Carolina High School League Competitive Cheer Championships will feature 48 teams from three classifications on Saturday, November 23 at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC.  

For two of those teams, there will be history on the line as the Liberty Red Devils compete for their state-record eighth consecutive Class AA championship and the Chapin Eagles go for their state-record tenth overall title and sixth Class AAA title in a row.

For Liberty head coach Lauren Hudson, it will be a chance to capture her first state title. Hudson, who coached the junior varsity team last year, replaced Missy Ricken as head coach. Ricken guided the Red Devils to the past five state crowns.

Hudson said she felt some pressure to continue Liberty’s on-mat success, but she quickly realized it wasn’t about her.

“The members of the team on the mat are athletes and the coaches at the front are the cheerleaders,” Hudson said.

As for the team feeling pressure, Hudson said that’s something her squad has handled well.

“Being a part of a successful program means there is a sense of tradition. Every member feels the pressure to uphold that.”

For Chapin High School, the road to becoming South Carolina’s most decorated cheer team began in 1999 when the Eagles won the first of their nine state championships. Head Coach Vicki Williams has the most state championships in SCHSL coaching history with eight.

Coach Williams, who is a two-time breast cancer survivor, said her team doesn’t think about setting records.

“This team just practices hard, competes hard and tries to execute each and every time. They know they’re going for our sixth consecutive championship, but they just focus on putting in a clean routine.”

The SCHSL Competitive Cheer Championships will be broadcast live on Saturday beginning with the Class AA championship at 10:15am EST on the NFHS Network. The Class AAA Championship will start at 1:30pm and the Class AAAA competition will begin at 4:45pm.

By Burch Antley – Burch is the voice of the SCHSL State Championships on the NFHS Network covering all sports from football to lacrosse to cheerleading. 

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