LEXINGTON – The University of Pikeville won its first-ever Mid-South Conference cheerleading competition, taking the title Wednesday night at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.
In addition, UPike Coach Jeannie Stone was named Mid-South Conference Coach of the Year and Jaimie Ward was named Cheerleader of the Year.
“I’m really proud of our team,” Stone said. “They have worked so hard on this routine. Everything we’ve done all season has been to prepare us for this night. I’m so happy for them that it all came together tonight.”
The squad had worked on the performance for months, and held an open practice on Monday in front of UPike students and fans.
Ward is a sophomore from Georgetown, and her taking the title as top cheerleader did not surprise her coach.
“She’s a really hard worker,” Stone said. “She is an excellent cheerleader and her performance tonight was perfect. She was very comfortable working with our guys and that may have been the difference for her tonight.”
Taylor Stone, a senior from Pikeville, joined Ward on the all-conference squad.
Additionally, seven UPike cheerleaders were named to the academic all-conference team. In order to be nominated by an institution, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved at least sophomore academic status.
Campbellsville, Lindsey Wilson and Pikeville each had seven academic honorees to tie for the most from one school. Forty cheerleaders were honored on the squad.
Pikeville’s members were Demitri Curry, Ali Goff, Jerrica Lambert, Derissa Prater, Mackenzie Stapleton, Stone and Ashley Sturgill.
Twelve student-athletes were named first-team all-conference. They were sophomore Ashley Bates and junior Audrey Wunderlich of Campbellsville; Brittany Bostic and Jacob Cody Hurst of Cumberlands; Georgetown seniors Jaime Horne and Maura Shirley; Lindsey Wilson junior Madeliue Hutcherson and senior Erica Finley; Ward and Stone of Pikeville; and Rio Grande sophomore Gwendolyn Rose and senior Kiah Haynes.
The Champions of Character recipient is Campbellsville University junior Alexa Moore. She was chosen from among her peers as an outstanding representative of the five core character values of the NAIA, which are respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership and sportsmanship.