Entering the 23rd season under Head Coach Kim Fleming, the Dawson County competitive cheer team used the summer to steadily prepare for what could be one of their best seasons.
“We have a history of a very successful program,” Fleming said. “This is the strongest team Dawson has had in a long time.”
Setting the standard for this year’s team is Nicole Mulkey. Currently a senior at Dawson County High School, Mulkey has been participating in some form of cheering since the age of 3.
“I used to do cartwheels,” Mulkey said. “So, my parents enrolled me in cheerleading when I was little.”
Fourteen years later Mulkey has qualified as one of 16 finalists for the Georgia All-State Cheer team. Judged in areas such as standing and running tumbling, stunts, pyramids, tosses, dance, cheer and chant, Mulkey advanced through increasingly difficult rounds to find herself part of the final group.
“The individual results will be announced in November,” Mulkey said. “I’m kind of excited about that.”
Although dealing with a few injuries during the pre-season, Fleming is confident in the team as the season opener approaches.
“The team has been working hard to compensate for those that have been injured,” Fleming said. “I feel like we will be getting stronger as the season progresses.”
Getting stronger is hard to imagine as over the last 22 years the Dawson County team has qualified for the state finals 20 times, placing in the top six in 12 appearances.
In addition to All-State finalist Nicole Mulkey, fellow seniors Kiara Marshall, Kiki Barber, Hanna Davenport and Chloe Pressley take the stage at the 22nd Tiger Cheer Classic on Sept. 8 as 26 teams from across northeast Georgia will come together for their first competition of the year at DCHS.