The William Byrd High School and William Byrd Middle School cheerleaders hosted their annual Battle at Byrd “Cheer 4 a Cure” cheerleading competition at the high school on September 30. The standing-room-only gym was packed with spectators and cheerleading teams.
In the previous seven years, Battle at Byrd has raised over $63,000 for the Vinton Relay for Life which benefits American Cancer Society cancer research and programs. The William Byrd Cheer program is consistently one of the largest contributors to Relay each year. Their goal this year is to raise $15,000 to promote cancer awareness and raise money for research to find a cure.
The American Cancer Society Relay theme this year is “Cancer– not here, not there, not anywhere” (based on Dr. Seuss), was prominently displayed on the T-shirts worn by the William Byrd hosts during the competition.
Cheer competition teams from WBMS and WBHS performed in exhibition, along with the Mini-Colonels and the Cheer Extreme Allstars.
About 30 other teams from around the region participated in the competition, including Cave Spring, Hidden Valley, Northside, Graham, and Brookville Middle Schools; JV teams from William Fleming, Graham, and Broadway; and high school teams from Appomattox, Auburn, Glenvar, Graham, Grundy, Radford, Tazewell, Wilson Memorial (in Fishersville), Franklin County, William Fleming, Brookville, Rustburg, Bassett, Broadway (in Rockingham County), Cave Spring, Christiansburg, Dinwiddie (south of Richmond), Hidden Valley, Lord Botetourt, and Staunton River.
First place went to Northside Middle in the Middle School Restricted Division, Brookville Middle in the Non-Restricted Division, and Broadway JV in the JV Division. Graham High School won first place in the 1A/2A Division, with Grundy coming in second, and Tazewell third.
Lord Botetourt High School won first place in the 3A/4A Division; Dinwiddie came in second, and Cave Spring third in what the judges described as “a tight competition.”
Franklin County placed first in the 5A/6A Division with William Fleming taking second place.
The Rustburg High School team was named Seminole District winner. The Sportsmanship Award went to William Fleming High School.
The competition was open to any middle or high school cheer team. Battle at Byrd is a VHSL-sanctioned event organized and coordinated by WBHS coaches Dee-Anne Dillon and Mike Bass.
The first Battle at Byrd was held in 2008 to honor breast cancer victims and raised about $5,000. Funds are raised from entry fees, admission for spectators, and vendors.
Members of the William Byrd Middle and High School competition cheer and sideline teams assist in facilitating the Battle at Byrd competition.
William Byrd Middle School cheerleaders include Madison Asberry, Grace Beamer, Callie Blankenship, Casi Carawan, Makayla Collins, Kyleigh Hartberger, Natalee Mills, Cheyenne Pruitt, Julie Sattah, Kendal Seale, Olivia Staten, Laney Stroop, Dakota Welch, and Madison Wright.
Members of the William Byrd High School competition cheer team are: Chandler Henderson, Hannah Abshire, Kaley Shoemaker, Courtney Palmer, Carrington Morris, Alyson Gilmer, Taylor Campbell, Madelyn Brown, Grace Large, Maddy Angle, Brianna Bray, Kamdyn Settles, Haley Lawson, Maegan Burnette, Olivia Robertson, Ashlynn Gaddy, Taylor Suttenfield, Tina Reamey, Erica Perrigton, and Marissa Kingery.
Sponsors for the Battle at Byrd this year were the Cheer Extreme Allstars, Brambleton Imports, CTS (Commonwealth Tool Specialty Inc.), Defy Gravity, Advantage Realty, Bug Man Exterminating, Roanoke Academy Gymnastics, Kroger, and Door Service Inc.
The WBHS Culinary Arts students with teacher Bev Allman helped with concessions. William Byrd art students with teacher Allyson Goin assisted with decorations.