Candy Woodruff

Special to the Grove Sun

COLCORD – The varsity cheerleading squad here has won out over five teams at the regional competition and now is warming up to compete for the state title.

Coach Elizabeth Thomas and her 18-member team will face off against eight squads for the Class 3A title at Skiatook on October 2.

This year’s chance at the title marks the third time Hornet cheerleaders have qualified for state, having previously competed for the title in 2007 and 2008. They finished in sixth place in 2008.

Coach Thomas said she expects competition to be tough. “We’re facing schools with a lot more money than Colcord. They all have tumbling coaches—all my girls have is me.”

Nonetheless, Thomas said the girls have the heart to prevail.

“We may be a small squad, but these girls are smart. They are family and their hearts are fully devoted.”

Regardless of whether they place at state, Thomas said the cheerleading program at Colcord is changing lives. “Some of these girls face some real challenges at home and, frankly, if it weren’t for their involvement in the squad, some of them might not even graduate.” But thanks to regular grade checks and emotional support from each other, the girls are able to stay in school, said Thomas.

Bottom line, Coach Thomas said the squad is living up to their theme, one they work into their routine, “If you don’t believe, you don’t belong”.