Stuarts Draft cheerleaders head to state competition for fifth year in a row

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — The Stuarts Draft cheer team will be heading to VCU's Siegel Center Saturday for their fifth year in a row. They are hoping to bring back their third straight championship title.

Stuarts Draft cheerleaders training for state competition in last practice of the season. | Credit: WHSV

"A goal at the beginning of the season for these competitive cheerleaders was to make it to states," Tammy Carter, their head coach, said.

But getting to states is not easy. The team's motto this year: "Three won't be free."

"It was really difficult throughout the season, like we had an injury, we lost a teammate," Bailey Ross, a junior on the team, said.

The team pushed through the hard times and came together as a family.

"It's a blessing to be a part of something, and to be a part of a story that's so much bigger than just cheer," Carter said.

Some of the athletes are heading to the state competition for the first time this year, like junior Allyson Johnson.

"It's been really fun, I realized they're really crazy, but they're fun and they're like my best friends," Johnson said.

The only senior on the team, Kari Williams, is sad this will be her last time competing with this team, but she is confident the team will leave everything on the mat.

"We're going to go out with a bang, I mean seeing everybody, I just love all of them, and just that we're going to do really good together," Williams said.

The trust, encouragement and enthusiasm brightens up the mat and is shown through a strong routine that has gotten them this far.

"To see their goals come to fruition is just a blessing, and it's a heartwarming experience for me because they are like my family, they're like my kids," Carter said.

The team will be hitting the mat just before 2 p.m. on Saturday, and they will be working to bring back that third straight championship trophy.

Stuarts Draft isn't the only cheer team representing the Valley this weekend. Page County, Fort Defiance, Riverheads and Spotswood will all be there as well.