Wheeling Park Patriots Head coach: Shawna Shepherd
The Wheeling Park cheering squad has been untouchable in the last four years.
The Patriots have won four OVAC championships in a row, while claiming three W.Va. Class AAA state titles as well.
Creating the winning atmosphere at Wheeling Park has been 12-year head coach Shawna Shepherd, who has clearly made an impact on the program.
“All of my teams have been awesome to coach,” Shepherd said. “Especially the three teams that have won state championships.”
Just this past December, the Patriots returned home from the state competition as champions and now Shepherd and her squad are focused on bringing a 20th OVAC championship back to the halls of Wheeling Park.
“Our state championship is in December but it is only stunting,” the Patriots coach said. “We have a short amount of time to change to the OVAC style, which is a cheering, dancing and tumbling format.
“It is a quick turnaround and a lot of people have counted this team out after losing six seniors last year but our freshmen have stepped up and have done everything that we have asked of them. Everyone has also maintained very good G.P.A.s.”
The Patriots only have one senior and also have the first boy on the roster in Shepherd’s 12 years as the coach.
Braden Cox is the lone boy on the roster, along with Jess Anguis, Alexa Crebs, Natalie Fischer, Morgan Fox, Abby Hudrlik, Alex Knight, Kyla Leigh, Meghan Murphy, Kenedi Pasquale, Shayla Raab, Bria Spigarelli, Abby Skrzypek, Abbie Vernon, Ashley Wiethe and Aubrey Wiethe.
Choreographer Brian Faulkner has created a routine that will showcase all of the Patriots’ talents.
“We are very strong at tumbling so that will be showcased,” Shepherd said. “We have cute dance sections and the kids are very talented so we push them to their very best. We expect to put on a show and perform the high level skills we can do.”