Head coach Taylor Burton said the Lady Purple Hurricanes, who garnered the No. 3 place a second year in a row, also claimed the top spot in their region, defeating region foe Allatoona, along the way.
Carrollton won the state, followed by Columbus and Cartersville and Allatoona at the championships, held in Columbus on Nov. 12.
Burton said the competition was close at state, and the Lady Canes easily could have placed higher. "We were one point away from second place and seven from first. It's really tough when you're in that close range."
She said the cheerleaders walked away knowing they gave their best. "The girls gave a great performance. There was nothing [else] they could have done."
The coach said the Lady Canes' performance was built around a flight theme. "Everything in our routine was based on flying."
She said a local choreographer helped work up the routine. "It was very creative and fun for the audience to watch. It was very different from the normal performances you would see. It differentiated our team from others."
Burton, in her first year as head coach with the varsity team, said things have gone smoothly this season, and she gave a lot of the credit for the high finish to the Cartersville program as well as the effort by the cheerleaders.
Burton said she had coached the middle school cheerleading team and knew a lot of the cheerleaders. "I was coach at middle school for three years. I had coached all but the seniors. I got to know them this year."
Burton noted the cheerleaders also work through the Devilray All Stars gym in Cartersville.
"Once they start cheering, they stay in the program and that helps; plus our school program is really strong, too," she said. "Also, our middle school cheerleaders did really well and now they're coming to high school prepared."
Burton also has experience in the sport as well and her mother was a coach. "I was a national champion in college [Columbus State University] for cheerleading and my mom coached for 28 years at Gordon Central [in neighboring Gordon County]."
The coach said Cartersville has just four seniors this year. Additionally it had seven juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen.
She said this year's cheerleaders also had to adapt to a number of rule changes in the sport.
"We tried to go above and beyond to ensure they could attain the highest skills to make sure we could score high in that requirement."
Burton said the rule changes also included a shortening of the season. "They used to have from August until February to prepare, but now it's from August until November. It's a really, really hard season now."