Cheerleaders to defend Region title

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KHSAA hosting competition

By Linda Ireland

 The LaRue County High School Cheerleaders will defend their Region title Jan. 19 at Central Hardin High School.

They will be the first to take the mat, showing off their high-flying stunts and high-powered cheers at 11 a.m.

If they win, they’ll compete at the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Competitive Cheer Championships on Jan. 26 at E.A. Diddle Arena on the campus of Western Kentucky University. 

It’s the first year KHSAA has sanctioned a state cheerleading competition.

The contest will follow much the same format as the competitions organized in the past by Kentucky Association of Pep Organization Sponsors (KAPOS). 

The change occurred prior to the current school year, said LCHS cheerleading sponsor Tara Wooden.

“There is no longer KAPOS for high school (cheerleading),” said Wooden. “KHSAA has taken over competitive cheer .... We knew it was a possibility, but it was confirmed over the summer. It’s really not that different – just a change in who is running the competition.”

Despite the change in organization, competitive cheer is not considered a sport. It continues to be categorized as a “sport activity,” as are archery, bowling and bass fishing. The designation as a non-sport is based on federal regulations from the Office of Civil Rights.

The KHSAA states that schools can petition the OCR on a case-by-case basis to count participation in competitive cheer toward Title IX requirements.

Competitive cheer is divided into two major categories – Division 1A and Division 2A, according to the KHSAA website. 

Division 1A is for schools with fewer than 800 students. Division 2A includes schools with more than 800 students. 

In all, the state competition will be divided into eight divisions for all-girl squads and one division for coed units.

There are also categories for the number of people on a squad, Wooden said.

The LaRue County cheer squad will compete in 5th Region medium division 1A against Hart County. A win will mean a trip to State.

To qualify for regional and state championships, squads must compete in a minimum of three competitive cheer competitions – not including KAPOS-sponsored events – during their school year.

After winning Region last year, the cheerleaders placed fifth in the medium varsity division in state competition.

If they compete at State, they will take the floor at 2 p.m., according to KHSAA.