The Graves County High School Coed Cheerleading Team brought home their 11th State Championship Title from the 2021-22 KHSAA State Competitive Cheer Championships.
The competition was held at George Rogers Clark High School in Winchester, Kentucky on December 11, 2021, following the devastating tornado that struck the team’s hometown. The weather and travel disruptions delayed the competition schedule by two hours that morning. Once on the floor, however, the Coed team drew off the resolve of their head coach, Jon Summerville. They remained calm, collected, and channeled any emotions into a perfect routine claiming their goal of a state championship.
Summerville, who has assisted the GCHS Coed Cheer Team since 2003, became instantly invested in the program after attending his first national competition that spring as an assistant coach and noting ways the team could improve and rise to the top of the field. His analytical skills, refinements, and persistence paid off. By 2005-2006, Jon Summerville was serving as head coach of the team, winning both the state and national title that year, setting the stage for many more to come. Graves County High School Co-ed Cheerleading currently has 11 state championship titles and are 8-time National Champions.
When asked what makes Graves County cheerleading so exceptional, Coach Summerville states, “Kids really buy into the tradition we’ve established. They know what to expect and do the work without complaining. The students were resilient that day. One of their goals was to win state, and they did. ”
GCHS senior cheerleader Lindsey Rupe said, “Going out on stage that day was a little more stressful than normal due to the tornado. We all knew we had to go out there and do it for our town, and that is exactly what we did. The win was definitely bittersweet and so surreal, but I am so proud of this entire team and grateful that I got to be a part of something so amazing.”
With only one division for coed cheerleading at the state level championships, it creates a very competitive experience for the student-athletes. While this is the school’s 11th state championship trophy, it is the first since 2016. The team was excited to get the title back.
“We hit better than we had all year and had the highest score out of any team that competed all day in every category. It brought good to a terrible time with the tornado being the night before,” reflects senior Fletcher Anderson.
Senior Natalie Gardner adds, “This year's State Championship was definitely one for the record books. Not only did we hit our routine, but our score was also the highest out of the whole competition. The devastating events taking place at home while we were in Lexington took a toll on each of the team members. Winning this State Title became more than just adding another trophy. It became a statement of strength.”
The team will compete for their 9th National Title in Orlando, Florida on February 12, 2022.