Manatee High School cheerleaders earned their fourth consecutive state championship title Saturday, while the school's Sugar Canes dance team narrowly missed advancing to the final round of a national competition.
Led by second-year head coach Ashley Choate, the 31-member varsity team has now won the Florida High School Athletic Association Competitive Cheerleading Championship four years in a row.
Choate said she thinks it is a school record. The team was crowned after competing at the University of South Florida Sun Dome in Tampa early Saturday afternoon.
Next week, Manatee High varsity and junior varsity cheer teams will compete at the national level.
The Manatee High School Sugar Canes dance team narrowly missed a bid to advance to the final stage of a national competition in Orlando.
During the semifinal Saturday, the team came in 14th. The top 13 teams advance to the finals.
The Sugar Canes dance team, which started at Manatee High School in 1947, has gone to national competition every year since 1987. This team placed sixth recently at the Florida Regional Dance Team Championships.
The 22-girl varsity squad is headed this year by English and speech teacher Angela Babroski, a former Sugar Cane from 2000-03. The Sugar Canes combined varsity and junior varsity dance teams this year, she said.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter@MeghinDelaney