High School Sports

Cheerleading championships: UIL state spirit competition draws 500 teams

We’ve got spirit, yes we do! We’ve got spirit, how ’bout you?

No one will have more spirit than Fort Worth this week as the UIL Spirit State Championships descend on the Fort Worth Convention Center from Thursday through Saturday.

This is the third season for the UIL to hold Spirit State Championships and the event has grown each year.

“This started about 10 years ago,” said Dr. Charles Breithaupt, Executive Director of the University Interscholastic League. “We had conversations with the folks in the cheerleading world who were interested in having a competition for the students who were involved.

It’s taken a little while, but three years ago we had our first championships in Arlington and now we’re here in Fort Worth. It’s grown exponentially every year and we have about 10,000 students participating this weekend.”

Breithaupt says that close to 500 schools will participate this weekend, up from about 300 the first year.

“Varsity Brands has been instrumental in helping us get off the ground,” said Breithaupt. “We’ve embraced this whole idea of ‘game day’ competition rather than some choreographed, gymnastics event. We wanted our cheerleaders to showcase what they’ve been doing all year long. Varsity Brands has been the one to celebrate that and help us get started.”

Several area schools will be competing including Azle in the Co-Ed Division. The Hornets won the Large Co-Ed title in 2016 and finished second last year. The Co-Ed Division is only one division this season after having a large and small division the first two years.

Kennedale is back in Class 4A after a fourth-place finish in 2016. Birdville leads the area 5A schools. The Hawks came in sixth in 2016 and fourth in 2017.

In 6A, Southlake Carroll will try to improve on eighth-place finishes in their first two trips to the championships.

The 5A and 6A classes have been divided into large and small school divisions this season after being combined in the past.

The Class 1A-3A finals began Thursday and the Co-Ed finals begin at 3:20 p.m. on Friday. Preliminaries for Classes 4A-6A start at 8:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, with the 4A and 5A Division II finals beginning at 6 p.m. Friday.

The 6A Division II finals start at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and the 5A Division I and and 6A Division I finals begin at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.