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Feb. 9, 2013

Cheerleaders place first at Panther Cheer Competition

by Emma Yeager, Online News Editor
On Jan. 26, the Blair cheerleaders placed first at the Panther Cheer Competition at Paint Branch High School in Silver Spring, Md. The team out-cheered second-place Paint Branch by 36 points. The judges also awarded Blair the spirit award and the captain's award to senior Rachel Robey.

The Blazers' unique routine helped them stand out from other schools. Danny Rosenberg
The Blazers' unique routine helped them stand out from other schools.
Blair competed against other Division II – also known as the "Burgundy division" – high schools, which included Paint Branch, Northwood, Magruder and Kennedy. The judges scored teams based on cheer, enthusiasm, tumbling and stunting. One judge focused on evaluating the team captain, who wore an arm band during the competition.

According to Coach Sarah Fillman, the judges said the Blair cheerleaders were genuinely spirited and had good recoveries. Robey believed the Blazers performed well because of their unique routine. "Coach Fillman choreographed a dance that was very different from the cookie-cutter cheerleading motions that a lot of teams stuck to, so we stood out. [Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)] has very strict rules about stunting, so a lot of routines start to look similar, but 'Filly' always finds a way around them so our stunts are different and exciting," she said.

The Blazers' unique routine helped them stand out from other schools. Danny Rosenberg
The Blazers' unique routine helped them stand out from other schools.
Fillman said her goals for the routine included improving transitions and using the whole floor. Like their coach, some cheerleaders also set their own goals for the meet. "In between the two competitions, a lot of people set individual goals and worked incredibly hard in and out of practice to achieve them. This was the first year I saw that happen, and I'm amazed at the progress that my teammates made, as well as all the team and personal goals that were accomplished," Robey said.

Blair has traditionally performed well at the divisional competitions and Blair students are known for coming out to the competition in large numbers. "We had the biggest crowd, like we always do," Fillman said.

According to Fillman, about half of this year's team, which has a total of 32 members, are brand new to cheerleading, which made winning first place even more rewarding. “There were some kids who were bawling because it felt so good," she said.

The competition was the Blazers' second of the school year. The first was counties, in November, where they placed fourth. "Our county competition performance didn't go so well, so it was important for us to place at this competition and bring home the spirit award yet again. Everyone wanted to redeem themselves and show the Blair community that we are much better than how we did at counties," Robey said.

Read More: Cheerleaders win spirit award for eighth year in a row at Counties

Fillman expressed that she is very proud of the team's accomplishments. "It was a really, really good day," she said.

Watch the team perform here:



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