MOULTRIE – The Colquitt County High competitive gymnastics squad, already suffering from several significant injuries, will open its season on Saturday at Whitewater High in Fayetteville.

The Lady Packers will go up against Stephenson, Newnan and Tift County in the Whitewater Extreme Cheer Extravaganza and coach Carrie Parker is looking forward to seeing her team compete.

“The girls have been working extremely hard all summer to prepare for this competition,” Parker said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to showcase our routine for the Atlanta area judges and squads, which we don’t normally get to see at the South Georgia competitions.

“This year’s routine is packed with difficulty, but our main concern right now is execution. The first competition always sets the tone for the rest of the season and they really need to give a solid performance to boost their confidence.”

Parker said the team’s “hard work and dedication are definitely taking a toll on their bodies.”

Soph-omore base Savannah Richardson has suffered a broken elbow and base Robyn Byington, another sophomore, has an ankle sprain.

And last week, the team lost senior flyer Tayler Yost to a broken ankle and torn ligaments when she came down from a stunt.

She underwent surgery and is out for the season.

Parker said Yost was one of the team’s main flyers and was a focal point of the dance segment.

“She’s one of those dancers that catches your eye with her adorable facial expressions and sharply executed motions,” Parker said. “Losing her was a huge setback for the team, but they have handled it well.”

Freshman Kaydee Phillips has stepped in to fly in place of Yost and Parker said she has done “an amazing job.”

“Regardless of having never flown in a stunt before, she was able to pull all of the skill her first day,” Parker said. “She’s still a little shaky in the air, but I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Sophomore Kari Saunders has moved to a backspot position, and senior captain Kaylee Hamilton switched to a main base after being a backspot for three years.

The squad’s other two captains are senior bases Ashton Eunice and Lori Sherling.

The other seniors are flyer Amber Ellis; bases Shay Herbert, Megan Cook and Anna Stripling; and backspot Ivy Jarvis.

The juniors are base Elyssa Whidby and backspots Saige Frazier and Ivey Reeves.

The sophomores are Richardson, Saunders, Byington, flyer Lindsey Wells and base Amber Westley.

The freshmen are Phillips, flyer Heather Stinson and base McKenna Fletcher.

The Colquitt County squad will travel to Lowndes to compete against Lowndes, Valdosta and Tift County on Satuday, Sept. 26.

The new middle school team, coached by former Colquitt County High cheerleader Carissa Inboden, will debut in the Lowndes competition.

Inboden is a former Colquitt County High cheerleader and also coached the Valdosta Vipers all star cheerleading squad

Parker, who is in her fifth year as the varsity cheerleading coach, was a football, basketball and competitive cheerleader at Colquitt County High.

At Georgia Southern, she was a member of both the co-ed and all-girl cheerleading squads.

Colquitt County will play host to the South Georgia Cheer Fest on Oct. 24 as the squad prepares for the Nov. 7 regionals at Fitzgerald and the state semifinals and finals on Nov. 13-14 in Columbus.

The middle school team will take part in five competitions this season.

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