Graves County High School Coed Cheer Team. Photo by Paul Schaumburg, Graves County Schools)
The Graves County High School co-ed competition cheerleading team recently won its seventh Universal Cheerleaders Association national title in Orlando, Fla., in the large co-ed division. Head coach Jon Summerville has led the team to seven national championships and ten state titles. During his 14 years as head coach, Graves County has placed among the top four teams every year at UCA. Additionally, some 15 team members have advanced to cheer for NCAA Division 1 colleges and universities.
"We went down there and did what we had to do," Summerville said. "We executed really well. For a new team, we're really proud to win! We weren't really expecting it this year. We were just hoping to become as good as we could this year and build up for next year. So, this is really nice that we were able to pull it off. We knew that if we executed well, we'd be right up there in the top two or three in competition. You never really know how you do until the announcements, because it is a judged competition."
Summerville continued, "We only have two seniors this year; that's unusual. We usually have from five to eight seniors on each team. A lot of the boys didn't know how to do anything when we started last February. So, it took a whole year of getting everybody ready."
Of the team's 26 members, Summerville explained, "The boys this year mostly are juniors and seniors. Our girls are mostly in the eighth-grade, freshman, and sophomore range. We have four junior girls."
The 2017-18 team members include seniors Adleigh Page, Jackson Purcell, Juniors Deanna Beard, Cody Beck, Nathan Blalock, Hunter Bonds, Kolson Boyd, Kennedy Goodman, Maddie Lawson, Olivia McClure, Brandon Richards, sophomores Caleb Beck, Kade Burnett, Chris Davis, Bryce Hiett, Claire Lamb, Jake Van Cleve, Freshmen Alex Bonnstetter, Lexie Hawkins, Tristan Richards, Gracie Stairs, Eighth-graders Natalie Gardner, Audrey Lamb, Amelia Milliken, Maddie Moyer, Lindsey Rupe.
The team won national titles in 2006-07, 2009-11, 2013, and now 2018. Graves County won state titles in 2005-08, 2010, 2012-13, and 2015-17.
This year's competition will air on ESPN Saturday, March 31, and again in April.