WHEELING-- The 22nd Annual OVAC Cheering Championships were held Saturday at WesBanco Arena and St. Clairsville made it a 6-pack for the Red Devils as they earned a sixth straight title in Class 4-A.
After a tight race last season and a routine that had some major deductions, this year the Red Devils received no deductions as they outscored Weir to move to a second hand for counting championships. St. Clairsville still has a long way to go before they challenge Wheeling Park and Wheeling Central Catholic as both schools boast an 11-year run at the top of their respective divisions.
"You are always worried during the competition and awards ceremony no matter how many championships you win," said St. Clairsville cheerleading coach Shawn Tomlan. "There is more pressure as a defending champion, but that is where we want to be."
Bishop Donahue successfully defended their Class 1-A crown, Weirton Madonna placed second and Paden City took third place in 1A.
Linsly, who won the AA title last year moved up to AAA leaving a very determined Toronto squad to claim the 2A title this year. Wheeling Central was second and Bridgeport celebrated a third place trophy.
Three A feature a seven team field and the trophy was successfully defended by Tyler Consolidated. Linsly won second place, magnolia third and Bellaire took home the fourth place honors in AAA.
After the break St. Clairsville faced some tough competition as Weir placed second and Union Local stepped up to third in 4A. Martins Ferry would finish fourth place in the division.
Brooke was defending their title in 5A but Wheeling ParK would get back into winning form overcoming some deductions in their routine to to take home the OVAC title this year .
When it was announced that the Red Devils had six-peated the Red Devil cheerleaders clinging to their stuffed animals in a circle on the floor of the arena jumped up to celebrate.
"The squad had been dedicated all year," said Tomlan of her squad. "It is always tough coming back as the defending champions, but this year they knew we had some mistakes last year and this year they really worked hard to put together a solid routine."
"Like all of the competition squads here we have been battling injuries, the weather and the flu," added Tomlan. "These girls have continued to work extremely hard for me, they are great girls, I can honestly say I love them all and all the credit goes to them for winning the title."
"I especially want to thank our fans," said Tomlan. "Their support is fantastic and we really appreciate them cheering us on as we cheer."
The Red Devils next competition will be the Ohio Cheerleading championships.
In addition to the main competition the 4 winning Junior OVAC squads also had an opportunity to take to the new hardwood and perform during the competition, Small middle school winner Shadyside Middle School, Medium Middle school winner Follansbee, Large Middle school winner Sherrard Middle School and Junior Varsity winner Parkersburg South JV.