Athletes of the Week: C-B Cheerleading Overcomes Tragedy to Win - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Athletes of the Week: C-B Cheerleading Overcomes Tragedy to Win Title

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Sydney Rush Sydney Rush

They have a championship routine. Championship mounts, and championship smiles.

Clay-Battelle High School is a perennial cheerleading powerhouse. This year the girls brought home the school's 10th state title. 

"We just went with total confidence that we could do it, and we did it. It was awesome," said sophomore Braelynn Neely.

But after an emotion season it was perhaps the toughest of them all.

"It has been extremely difficult," said senior Amanda Ammons. "I myself, she was my best friend. Sydney was my best friend. Losing my best friend and that was hard enough but knowing I was going to come to cheerleading practice everyday and not see her was harder."

On September 30th, a single vehicle accident claimed the life of junior cheerleader Sydney Rush.

The accident shocked the entire Blacksville area community and the team questioned whether they should go on.

"We wanted to call it a season and be done," said Ammons.

A week later the girls came together for the first time since the accident to cheer at the school's football game. That night changed their minds.

"We walked out, holding hands and knew we had an angel looking over us," said Neely. "We had some many people clapping for us and we knew we had the support from the community to continue and it was a great feeling for all of us."

"After we got the whole group together and got to thinking about it, we knew we needed to do this for her," added Ammons.

From that day the Queen Bees adopted a rally cry, saying "this one's for you."

They added Rush's memory to their routine and uniforms and began knocking down competitions one at a time.

"There were high points like winning regionals and going to states," said coach Barb Neely, "but then there was sadness that we didn't have all of our team together."

Clay-Battelle has now won six of the last eight Class A cheer titles, and this one proved just how strong 14 girls can really be.

"I know she'd be proud of us," said Ammons. "I know we'd both be excited because we both always wanted to be on the floor together."

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