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Special tribute made at final home varsity game

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When the fall sports season began for Wright County school districts, there was a lot of uncertainty among coaches and administration in regards to just how many games the programs would actually have this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While several athletes have been quarantined since the beginning of the school year forcing them to miss games and practices, the four county schools have been fortunate to not have too many cancellations due to something happening within their own student body. That unfortunately was not the case for the Mountain Grove cheerleading squad last Friday night when a quarantine was necessary for the squad, resulting in them not being able to cheer on the Panthers during the final home football game on the regular season schedule.

I attended the game that opened up with a banner stretched across the field so the football players could run through it.

I noticed there were no cheerleaders and just wasn’t certain at the time what was going on. I eventually figured out where the cheerleaders were at. At halftime, I noticed the touching display of cheerleading poms on the Mountain Grove track that had a white carnation on them.

The display was spaced out to represent the spots where each individual cheerleader cheers for the Panthers during every home game.

Mountain Grove varsity cheerleading coach Amber Williams noted the gesture on her Facebook page.

“I tell you, we have the best cheer family,” she said. “Coach (Erica) Rogers and Coach Mac (McAnarney) and the middle school cheer team brought out their poms and white carnations tonight to honor my varsity squad in their cheer spots. I am blessed with the best. Few tears might have been shed. Such a weird night for me.” She went on to say, “BTW, I hate COVID.”

I hate it too. Due to COVID-19, the girls were unable to cheer on the Panthers during the final home game of the season. They missed out on the fun as th Panthers easily knocked off Houston, 27-0. Amazingly enough, the girls were able to make it through most of the season before COVID-19 really took its toll on the squad’s ability to cheer on the football team. Here’s hoping they can get back sooner than later.

While the cheerleaders were unable to perform and make a memory, many of us who saw this touching tribute will not forget the emotion we felt in seeing that gesture.

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