Photos and text by Jen Rynda
Howard County varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders gathered at Long Reach High School for the county championships. The student athletes filled the auditorium early Thursday evening to practice cheers, finish homework and engage in a cheer battle — all before the competition even started.
Supporters and fellow cheerleaders erupted with enthusiasm as each team had a chance to impress the judges with their routines. After the performances ended and each senior cheerleader was recognized, the gymnasium grew silent. Cheerleaders held each other’s hands in anticipation of announcement of the winner. Long Reach coach Nikkia Johnson’s team was announced as the victors. They earned a score of 122.5, which was just enough to hold off second-place Marriotts Ridge with 121.