NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - This season the East Jessamine Jaguars are climbing to new heights in cheerleading.
"We felt that we needed to step up our level of competition, and in order to do that we needed to get some more guys," said Coach Kristen Mulcahy, and with those additions came success.
"The season has been great. We have improved so much, especially since my freshman year," boasted senior Sarah Baldridge.
For all the highs, however, there's been almost as many lows. The team went on to compete and win regionals, but was not allowed to carry on to state competition.
"We actually got disqualified from the state competition," answered Mulcahy, "We had a move which the judges felt was a stunt."
"Finding out at regionals that we couldn't compete at state was heartbreaking to me," added senior John Norman who joined this year and is already invited to try out for UK's squad.
Junior Cameron Back said, "It was pretty disappointing, the team was just crushed."
"We showed up to practice the next and said, 'Well, let's move on. Let's do the next thing,'" continued Mulcahy.
The team didn't have to wait long, because they were soon invited to take part in a national competition in Florida.
"Once we didn't get to go to state, that nationals was our next big thing," said Norman.
"Oh my gosh, I was dancing," recalled Back with a laugh.
While the pride is high, there's a catch. The Jessamine County Schools have a policy that prevents out of state travel where students might miss class, which puts the squad's hopes on hold.
"It is very hard for me to comprehend that it's ours and we can't go," said Baldridge.
The superintendent said she and many others are proud of the squad and are excited for their opportunity, adding that an exemption could be written in for special circumstances like this. However, the board has not received any petition at this time. While their trip remains in the hands of the school board, the squad remains focused and optimistic that they can still achieve their goals.
"There's still a possibility we won't be able to go," said Jalyn Maynard, a junior on the squad.
"It's a huge opportunity to put our school on the map," beamed the coach, elaborating that many college programs keep an eye out for talent at these competitions.
"It would be amazing just to go down there and show our stuff off," continued Maynard.
Baldridge said she hopes the trip is approved because everyone has worked so hard this season that she believes they've earned it. So like any good cheer squad, they're picking up their spirits and continuing to fight, hoping the board's policy will be overturned.
While they wait for approval the cheerleaders and boosters are working on ways to raise the $20,000 needed for the trip. A challenge that is only tougher with the decision in limbo.