For Corbin High School, returning to the UCA Smoky Mountain Championship feels like going home. The Tennessee event holds a special place in the program’s heart as it marks the beginning of their journey to the National High School Cheerleading Championship.
Corbin first attended Smoky Mountain in 2012 where they earned their bid to compete at nationals for the first time in school history. Since their inaugural trip to Orlando, Corbin has earned two national championship titles, 2016 and 2018.
[WATCH] Corbin High School 2018 Finals
This weekend the Hounds are taking the mat with a veteran team that is ready to get back up and add to their legacy after a tough 2018-2019 season.
“Last year wasn't our year, that's no secret,” shared Head Coach Shonya O’Neil. “We had a tough time bouncing back after graduating the seven we lost in 2018. It was a huge change for the girls and for us as a staff as well. We were looking for that "connection" each team has to find before things start to turn around.”
Corbin finished 7th in Medium Varsity Dll last season, their lowest placement since 2013 when they earned 12th.
“We came home on a mission, we found leadership, growth, team bonding and a determination to come back stronger and leave the mat better at each competition than they did the year before. So far, they have done just that.”
[WATCH] Corbin High School 2019 Finals
This season Corbin is competing in the Small Varsity division with four seniors, six juniors and two sophomores on the mat.
“They're a very talented group of girls,” shared O’Neil. “I believe in my heart they can do anything they set their minds to. They have the experience, they have the training, they just need to keep using all the given tools and make it happen.”
“I 100% believe this team has what it takes to make it back to the top and be a team we are all used to seeing Corbin High School produce.”
One step at a time, the Hounds have been working towards their goal. This weekend will be another step on that road to Orlando.
At the KHSSA Regionals two weeks ago, Corbin had a stunt drop that cost them the region title. O’Neil hopes they took that experience as a lesson and they put a determination in their hearts to do what it takes to hit a perfect and entertaining routine today.
“They have worked hard, and I expect when you see them you will never tell they had a tough year last year. I think it's time for this team to make their mark.”
Tune in to Varsity TV today at 1:02 PM to watch Corbin High School make their mark at the 2019 UCA Smoky Mountain Championship!
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