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Tualatin High School cheerleaders win back-to-back championships

They've done it again.

The Tualatin High School Competition Cheerleading Team is state champion for the second year in a row.

The 16-member team competed in the Oregon Schools Activities Association's annual showdown Saturday in the 6A/5A Large category and brought home first place thanks to their high-flying, high-energy acrobatics.

With 13 teams competing in their division, Tualatin's scored 67.45 points. In second place, Clackamas High School had a score of 66.75 and Sam Barlow High School earned 66.58 points for third.

This is the team's seventh state championship in the school's history. Last year, the team followed up its state victory with a fourth-place finish in the U.S.A. National competition.

Tualatin's two-minute, thirty second routine was full of tucks, layouts and other tricky tumbling maneuvers executed with precision.

Head Coach Tracy Coyle said that the remarkable thing about the cheerleaders is the number of hours they commit to their sport - both in competing against other teams and in cheering on athletes of other sports. The girls also cram in 10 to 12 hours of practice a week and agree to 25 hours of community service throughout the year.

'While they're doing their competitions, they're also busy cheering for their teams on game night,' Coyle said. 'We do the athletic portion of it, but we do the service part of it too. It's basketball season right now, but we attend a few swim meets and wrestling (matches) too.'

With only five seniors, but eight freshman, Coyle said the team is a young one with a bright future.

'Of the 16 performing on the floor, only two performed on the state championship (team) from last year,' she said. 'So when this year started, we were essentially starting from the beginning with basic skills. But this team has heart.'

Team dynamics might have had a hand in the back-to-back wins, Coyle said.

'They are quite simply the nicest group of girls, and I think the key to their success is that they really care about each other,' she said. 'We set the goal last summer and this is the kind of group that just doesn't give up.'

Next up, the team will compete in Salem on Feb. 25 at a small-scale national competition, Spirit of the West.



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