For most, the idea of being perfect is something to strive for, but not an actual goal that can be reached.
Yet, that was what Lambert competition cheer coach Brent Paige was asking of his team leading up to the state championship meet on Saturday – and that’s exactly what his team gave him, with the Longhorns securing a perfect 110 out of 110 to win Class 7A’s state championship.
“We really talked about trying to be perfect at the right time, improving on our mistakes,” Paige said. “At the end of the day, when you ask for perfection and they give it to you, that was pretty cool. That was a pretty cool moment, something that I'll always remember.”
Saturday’s performance marks Lambert’s fifth state championship in competition cheerleading. Forsyth County as a whole did very well, with South Forsyth finishing as the runner-up in Class 7A. West Forsyth and North Forsyth finished third and fifth at state, respectively.
Forsyth Central finished sixth in the co-ed competition, and even the county’s newest school, Denmark, got in on the action, earning the runner-up spot in Class 4A in its first year of existence.
“I think when you look at the 7A division, the best of the best are in Forsyth County,” Paige said. “Those rivals and every team that's in Forsyth County, we compete with them throughout the year so it pushes all of us.”
What made Lambert’s victory sweeter was remembering how last year ended. The Longhorns finished second behind South in 2017, leaving a hunger for more. Confidence had to build early in the season, though, with younger girls on the team struggling with aspects of the routine. But as time went on, they learned.
“It was a year where the girls really had to challenge themselves,” Paige said. “We were not perfect out of the gate. In prior years, we were always as talented as we were this year, but it came a little bit easier for them. I think this team had to work a little bit harder at it.
“On Saturday, it looked like 16 girls that were hungry to get their title back and nobody was going to stop them.”
While Region 5-7A has always been a successful one in competition cheer since its inception, none of its team had ever won the state title and the region title in the same season. This year’s Lambert team is the first squad to do it, and they’re glad to get the “curse” off their backs.
“It’s good to be able to say, ‘OK, you can win region and state out of this region,’” Paige said. “’I never thought it was a curse but all the girls used to talk about it.”