The official student news site of Athens Drive High School


The official student news site of Athens Drive High School


The official student news site of Athens Drive High School


Athens Cheer comes out on top at States

Photos by Morgan DeYoung
Athens varsity cheer team holding up their state champions banner after coming in 1st.

The Winter sports season at Athens Drive has been nothing short of eventful. That does not exclude the Athens Drive Varsity Cheer team, who brought home the state championship on January 28, 2023. 

“We worked our butts off, I mean, I think when most people think cheer, they think the sidelines, you’re doing the dancing and the shouting, but there’s so much more to that,” said Libby O’Leary, varsity freshman. 

The past two years for Athens cheer has had many successes . In 2022, after winning first place in the Wake County championship, the team celebrated bringing home their first trophy since 2014. This year, they went even further and brought home state champs, But the process wasn’t one without hard work. 

“Being able to actually put them out on the mat and hit where we knew we should be at was one of the things we really wanted to do,” said Morgan DeYoung, varsity cheer coach. 

Despite having one of the longer seasons, the cheer team competed only five times this year. Their season began in November, and ended in January. After winter break, the team faced an injury, and had to change aspects of their routine. They practiced daily for 2 hours to close the gap and heighten their skills. 

“We were going against some really difficult teams and I think that we all had really great motivation. If we saw someone having a tough day, we would motivate them to keep pushing, and we put our blood sweat and tears into that routine,” said O’Leary. 

O’Leary is the only freshman cheerleader on varsity. In her first 7 months of doing cheer, having only started during the preseason workouts held during the summer, she has gone with her team to win states. O’Leary holds pride in the togetherness of the team and how they push each other to do their very best.

“I’ve had such a great year so far because of the cheer team, I’ve met so many new people, all the upperclassmen are so nice, they’re like my sisters. It’s just really awesome because it’s such a team, and it makes a big school small,” said O’Leary.

 The freshman also shared what drove her to put her best foot forward: her seniors. 

“Me, as a freshman, I wanted to do it for the seniors. This was their last competition, this was their last chance to win states and I just wanted to give them that win, so that was a really great feeling when we won,” said O’Leary.

The seven seniors on the team celebrated their senior night on February 10, three being the team’s senior captains: Kayleigh Wadsworth, Samantha McLain, and Sophia Reeves. The seniors were able to finish off their school career with what they had been pushing and practicing for all of their high school years. 

“It was the last competition so we just wanted to have a fun performance where we were happy and content with what we put on the mat,” said Deyoung. 

Deyoung’s practices and the team’s cohesiveness came to fruition when the team stepped onto the mat for their final routine of the year, as their priority became not to only win, but to enjoy what they had worked so far for.

“You have to have a lot of trust in your teammates, which other people might think that’s scary, but I think it’s really comforting, because you put all your trust in these girls, I mean, they are holding you up in the air, its crazy, but it’s really comforting  to know, cause I know that they are always going to catch me,” said O’Leary. 

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