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Top left to right: Lydia Dodson, Mollie Haithcock, Carrie Williams, Congressman Phil Haire, Coach Stephanie Smith, Natasha Wooten, Allie Foley, Sara Ledbetter and Mackenzie Jones. Bottom left to right: Kassie Rogers, Natasha Ruffner, Morgan Henry, Michayla Crewes, Taylor Rostallon and Laura Norton. Not pictured: Carli Calloway and Jordan Field.  Photo by Vickie CarpenterRepresentative Phil Haire presented FHS Varsity and Junior Varsity cheerleading squads with a certificate commemorating their recent victory as state cheerleading champions for the Western North Carolina district.

The teams went to Raleigh from Feb.11-13 and competed in the North Carolina Cheerleading Coaches Association. Both Varsity and Junior Varsity squads won first in nontumbling cheerleading.

The duel win was the first in FHS cheerleading history. Varsity coach Jennifer Turner- Lynn attributed her team’s success this year to good leadership and hard work. The Franklin cheerleaders competed against two other teams; Pisgah and Four Bush. In Franklin’s division, teams can compete with one another based on ability, rather than size, she said.

Turner-Lynn added that the team has trained anywhere from 9 to 12 hours a week, and up to 15 hours a week during basketball season.

But what set the FHS cheerleaders apart in this year's state competition, was the humility that accompanied their desire to win. “Our attitude has been, ‘You have the ability to win. You control your behavior. You work hard. You do the best that you can do.’ We can’t control how good or bad another team is,” she said. “If you lose, you lose with your head held high, knowing that you gave it your all and have no regrets.”

This year marked a turning point for changes in the school's cheerleading program, Turner-Lynn said. “It's now a program for teams dedicated to compete,” she said.

For the Junior Varsity team, coach Stephanie Smith said this year was the second year in a row that her team has won the state championship. “We are very pleased with the results. We worked really hard,” she said. “When you choose to be a cheer coach it can be very rewarding, and it has been for me.”

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