Saturday's contest may not have been the result Dawson County High School's competitive cheerleaders had hoped for, but the excitement of competing in the state finals in Columbus had the team pumped in celebration of a winning season.
"This is our last competition and last as a senior, so this is our last time on the mat together, and possibly the last time on the mat for those who aren't going to college for cheerleading," said senior Savannah Garrick. "It just means a lot for us to go and finish off as a team, especially with the great season that we're having."
Of five invitational competitions this season, the team won four and placed third at another, in addition to winning the region title, a first in five years for the school.
The team placed 13th in the state AAA finals Saturday, days after junior Katie Williamson fell during the team's final practice on Thursday and broke her leg, an injury that forced the team to re-evaluate and adjust its routine for the competition.
Calhoun High School was named the state champions.
Senior Regan Millholland said win or lose, the team's overall goal was to "go out there and do our best and leave no regrets on the floor.
"I just hope that as seniors we've led this team how they want and need to be led. We have a region championship. As a team, I think we've done great."
Summer Armstrong, also a senior, called competing at the state level a childhood dream.
"It means a lot because I've been cheerleading since the third grade, so I've done cheerleading for so long and I want to end it off really, really good," she said.
Coach Kim Fleming praised the team for their hard work and dedication.
"I'm very proud of them and the season they had this year," she said. "Every year the team gets stronger, but all the other teams are getting stronger also."
She encouraged younger girls interested in cheering at the competitive level in high school to start early.
"The sport is growing so much in the state of Georgia. It's not something you can wait to do till you get in the ninth grade," she said. "It's been around for about 21 years, and we've had a team at state at Dawson County ever since I've been here, except for one year."