In unusual times, the Battlefield competition cheer team stayed strong. The Bobcats defended their Class 6 state title on Saturday, rolling to their second straight crown with an enthralling, deduction-free routine.
The Bobcats scored 275.5 points to finish ahead of Chantilly (267), West Springfield (250) and Landstown (237.5) in the April 17 meet held at Glen Allen High.
Battlefield also won the last previous Class 6 title contested, which was 17 months ago, way back in November 2019.
“It’s just as special. I’m very proud. It’s hard to do two years in a row. To say we won district, region and state, it’s just awesome,” said coach Robin Burkhart. “I have a strong senior class with great leadership.”
With the VHSL delaying the fall season until February, simplifying routines and restricting crowds, this was a competition cheer season like no other.
Another pandemic change made by the VHSL was just four teams qualifying for states, instead of eight. “There was a lot more pressure at regionals with just four teams,” said Burkhart. “Last year two got to go. Big congratulations to Chantilly, West Springfield and Landstown. Amazing routines, great competition, great coaches,” said Burkhart.
In addition, Battlefield suffered a personal setback when Ana Glaze, a cheerleading mentor to Burkhart since her high school days, suffered a traumatic brain injury earlier this year. Glaze, who has been a member of the VHSL cheer community and a judge for over 40 years and is the mother-on-law of Battlefield activities director Jason Koch, is recovering.
The team wore a heart that said “Ana” on their uniforms.
“She’s a staple in the state of Virginia for cheerleading,” said Burkhart. “She was the coach at Stonewall and won state titles and is a VHSL judge. She’s a mentor to me. It was tough. We wore those hearts. We won for her.”
Burkhart said Battlefield’s routine at states was clean and crowd-pleasing.
“The VHSL made a good decision on what we can and can’t do. They took out pyramids and basket tosses,” said Burkhart, referring to pandemic-related guidelines to reduce some physical contact.
“For us, we had to get a creative routine that had a lot of excitement. You saw different cheerleading and a lot of good cheerleading. We had to up our skills. More tumbling. More stunting,” she said.
Burkhart praised her team’s parents, family members and friends for their loud yelling during their competitions.
Meets earlier in the season were limited to 25, but crowds were expanded to 100 for regionals and states. Even so, parents were not allowed inside when the final state results were announced, so the athletes had to hug their friends and family in the parking lot.
The 20-member team featured seven seniors, nine juniors and four sophomores.
Seniors Cameron King and Lena Word were captains. The other seniors included Talula Black, Cierra Chatman, Chloe Collier, Ryan McAuley and Jayden McLean.
The juniors were Kaitlynn Biser, Jocelyn Butcher, Avery Collyer, Dennis Cranston, Ryan Ferreira, Amanda Hess, Mia Maclean, Ella Morrow and Anna Zweig.
The sophomores were Ashlyn Hartman, Madeline Menard, Hannah Simms and Aubrie Zbrzezny.
Brooke Burkhart was the manager, with Angel White, Hannah Spezzano and Megan Stallings also serving as coaches.
Battlefield has now won three straight region titles and seven consecutive district crowns.
Reach Peter Brewington at email@example.com