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    Flawless Falcons repeat as state cheer champions

    photoBriar Woods performs the first of two routines at the Group AA state competitive cheer championships Nov. 13 at the Siegel Center in Richmond. The Falcons scored 282 points on their second performance to claim their second straight state championship.—Times-Mirror Photo/Pamela Davis

    Briar Woods High School’s competitive cheer squad definitely saved their best for last this season.

    The Falcons did not deliver their top performance in the first round of the Group AA state cheer championships Nov. 13 at the Siegel Center in Richmond.

    But it was good enough to earn the defending state champions one of five spots in the finals as Briar Woods tied for third among 16 teams in the first round.

    “After we heard our name in the top five, we knew we could come back and redeem ourselves,” senior captain Amanda Swindle said. “And we did.”

    Briar Woods responded by turning in what third-year coach Kristen Develli described as “the best performance this team has ever performed” in the finals.

    The judges agreed, as the Falcons scored 282 points on their final routine to repeat as state champions. William Byrd finished eight points behind in second place.

    “I’m just so excited and proud of the girls,” said Develli, a former cheerleader at Park View High School and Radford University. “We didn’t have a great first performance but our second performance was flawless.”

    Swindle, one of four seniors on the team along with Kierra Chinn, Amanda Huntley and Lauren Hancox, said “It was definitely a good wrap up to my cheerleading career.”

    The Falcons also collected Dulles District and Region II championships this fall. Briar Woods figures to be a force again next season with 16 underclassmen on their roster.

    “I’m fortunate having such a young team,” Develli said. “All of my girls are true competitors. Not only do they want to win, they are just great kids.”


    -All photos by Pamela Davis.

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