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4 - Pioneerettes win state title
The Pioneerettes won the state pom title in 2022. Members of the team are, front row, from left, Keira Reynolds, Aniston Smith, McKenzie Hillis, Allison Hudson, Brynn Woodlee and Jera Jones. Second row, Maya Williams, Sarah Grissom, Gracie Morton, Brooklyn Cope and Makayla Cagle. Back row, Ashlyn Terry, Dixie Hillis, Emma Cooper, Mackenzie McGee, Maddy Turner and Boey Adams.

A program that is used to hanging banners added to its collection in November. The Pioneerettes captured the 2022 TSSAA Medium Pom championship in Murfreesboro, outlasting one of the deepest fields ever to bring home a state title for the first time in 10 years. 

“I saw the faces of those 17 beautiful souls that I get the pleasure of working with almost every day – I saw their smiles, tears, shock and happiness – and that is when pure joy hit,” said coach Penny Shockley about the victory. “Those beautiful faces are why I do what I do and why I am still here.”

The team, led by seniors McKenzie Hillis and Allison Hudson, didn’t seem fazed by the large gym, performance floor or anything at the state tournament. They had drilled their routine so many times that it didn’t matter where or when they had to perform, they could do it perfectly.

“I think these young women have amazing work ethic. So many people do not realize what it takes to put those two-minute dances on the floor. These girls go over every move, every count and every step time after time to make sure they are all doing the motions the same way. Although there are 17 different girls out there, they all have to look exactly the same dancing. That takes time and effort,” said Shockley.

The Pioneerettes will be looking to add to their collection of titles in 2023. The victory in the state tournament qualified the local dance squad to compete in the nationals in February. Shockley has her team focused on another championship, but also knows the victory in November will be a lasting memory for her team.

“This is the moment their hard work had paid off and their lives were forever tied together as members of the 2022 TSSAA Medium Pom state champions,” said Shockley. “No matter where they go in life, they are the only 17 people that can say that and no one can ever take that away from them.”