PALMETTO -- Manatee High School Hurricanes swept the cheerleading competition at the 2016 Manatee County Fair.
Both the varsity and junior varsity cheerleading teams won first place in their respective divisions at the 21st Annual High School Cheerleading Competition on Monday night.
"It's a traditional competition for us," Manatee High School coach Ashley Choate said. "We love coming and being in front of the home crowd."
This is the fourth consecutive year Manatee High varsity cheerleaders won the fair cheer competition, sponsored by Harbor Community Bank.
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Braden River High School came in second followed by Bayshore High School in the varsity competition. In the junior varsity competition, Lakewood Ranch High School came in second followed by Braden River High School.
Each team took turns
performing a set to music on the red mat inside the fair's Mosaic Arena. Each school also shouted some of their school songs. The competition's sponsor Harbor Community Bank presented a check to every team that participated Monday night to use toward future competitions.
Braden River High varsity cheerleading captain and senior Emily McNulty said she was pleased with the team.
"I'm so proud," she said. "We are excited for states which is in two weeks."
McNulty said it was bittersweet performing at her last fair.
"You always hear about the fair," she said. "It's about doing what I love in a place I love. It's great showing the community what we are about."
Manatee High varsity cheerleading captain and senior Rebekah Stewart said it was really good to win all four times she's performed at the fair in high school.
"It just hit me today that in a couple weeks I am not cheering for high school again," she said.
Manatee High senior Courtney Clayton said all the hard work they've put in paid off.
"It was a good opportunity to cheer for such a great program," she said.
Monday was Bayshore High sophomore Madison Haines first time cheering at the Manatee County Fair. Haines said it was kind of intimidating.
"It was a lot of fun," she said. "After working hard, you finally can show everyone what you came out for on the mat."
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.