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The Student News Site of Stafford High School

SHS Publications

The Student News Site of Stafford High School

SHS Publications

The Class 6 State Cheerleading Co-Championship: “Clerical Error” Revealed

Update on : SHS Cheer Team: Champs or Co-Champs?
Stafford+Cheer+Team+after+the+State+Championship.
photo by Taylor Rossi
Stafford Cheer Team after the State Championship.

On November 16th, 2023, Stafford County Public Schools released an executive summary addressed to Stafford Cheer’s athletes, parents, and coaches to answer questions surrounding Stafford and Colgan’s co-championship.

 

In this summary, Superintendent Thomas Taylor explains the logistics behind the decision to declare a co-championship. 

 

“On Monday morning, November 6, the VHSL was contacted by representatives from Colgan questioning the omission of a scoring deduction option on the [technical] score sheet. Absent this option, Colgan felt they were denied the procedural right to protest due to the absence of the scoring deduction. Specifically, the option for a two-point deduction for a “non-weight bearing hand check” was accidentally deleted from the scoring sheet for all Class 6 teams as a result of a clerical error, therefore the Colgan representatives felt the technical judges only had the option of a four-point deduction.”

 

That same evening, Kelly Hany, Assistant Director of VHSL called Christopher Dodd, Athletic director of Stafford High School to notify him of Colgan’s co-championship with Stafford, leaving out specifics on what a “clerical error” meant to the declaration of a co-championship. Due to the lack of information, rumors of a tie, incorrect scoring, and points being awarded back to Colgan began to arise.

 

“Important Note: The term “Clerical Error” used by Dr. Haun, Executive Director of the VHSL, was in reference to the 2-point deduction being removed from the score sheet, and not meant to be used as the reason for the declaration of co-champions. There was no clerical scoring error,” the statement explains.

 

Taylor goes on to reaffirm the reason why Colgan was awarded a co-championship title after the conclusion of the competition.

 

“The VHSL did not recalculate scores in any manner and did not change scores in any manner, nor did they use different scoring methods. As previously stated, the decision was made on the premise that true procedural due process to protest was denied due to the error on the VHSL and not based on any changing of scores.”

 

Thomas Taylor finally adds, “To be clear, the decision was based on the denial of the right to protest, not that the protest would have been successful.”

 

“[Colgan] is a great team, they are a great program.” Stafford Cheer coach Janet Barham recognizes.

 

“We put in the work, we were determined, we put in everything that we could knowing we were going against the state champion from last year in [Class] 6 and knowing they were an extremely strong team since we had gone against them at regionals,” Barham explains.

 

After a zoom meeting with Coach Barham, Coach Kristi Proudfoot, Mr. Dodd, Mrs. Hany, and Billy Haun, Barham concludes that “VHSL accidentally deleted a portion of the technical scoresheet from all class 6 sheets round 1 and 2.” She also learned from Dr. Billy Haun, “The VHSL scoresheet was a ‘human error’ and because Colgan was not allowed due process to protest, Haun named them co-champions.”

 

Moving forward, Barham is looking at this situation as a learning experience and fuel for her program in the future. “I’m hoping as a program, as a coach, as a team, and as young ladies and gentlemen, [Stafford cheerleaders] will learn so much more about [themselves] and about life.”

 

Barham has maintained a positive outlook for her and her team, despite the controversy this co-championship has caused. “So proud of the Stafford Cheer program and our back-to-back state championships.”

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Coco Wallace, Writer
  Hi, I'm Coco! I'm a senior and I'm a captain on the field hockey team and the Senior Representative for Key Club. As a first-year member of The Smoke Signal, I am excited to start my role as a writer and get out some fun pieces.
Jayda Jones, Writer
Hey, I'm Jayda! I'm a sophomore and this is my second year on the Varsity cheer and track team. This is my first year writing for The Smoke Signal. I can't wait to interview people around the school this school year and share my passion for writing with the school.
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