by D. Mark Mitchell
Sports Editor

This week the OHS athletic department is as busy as any time of the school year. The winter sports (wrestling, basketball and cheer competition) are getting ready for the end of the season. The spring sports are all practicing for the start of their seasons.

The Opelika cheer competition team is in Orlando until Tuesday.

The team, coached by Brandy Riddle, is competing at the “Nationals” at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.

The team will compete tomorrow (Saturday). The routine lasts two minutes and 30 seconds. They get one chance to perform the routine and impress the judges and score enough points to advance to the finals.

The judges watched each teams performance at the regionals on video last weekend.

They were looking for one team to compete for the “World High School Championship”.

The judges called Coach Brandy Riddle to inform her that Opelika was chosen to compete in the world championship on Sunday.

OHS will be competing against teams from China, Canada and several other countries.

This will be a first for Opelika High School. Former Coach Emily Severin, now retired, was the last coach to take a team to the Nationals 13 years ago.

Severin has been helping this year’s team by watching and giving the team a few pointers learned from her coaching experience over many years.

Coach Riddle was a guest on my radio show “On the Mark” this week, and talked about how hard the 18 team members have worked.

Riddle also wanted to thank the Opelika School System, Dr. Mark Neighbors, the School Board, OHS principal Dr. Ferrell Seymore, Athletic Director Brian Blackmon, the Opelika All-Sports Booster Club, the team parents, Mayor Gary Fuller, the Opelika City Council, Sen. Tom Whatley, Rod Herring and the entire Opelika Bulldog boosters for contributing money that allowed the team  to travel to Orlando to represent the city of Opelika and the Opelika School System.

Congratulations to the OHS Cheer Competition squad!

The wrestling team is participating in the sectional tournament in Auburn tonight and all day tomorrow (Saturday).

There will be 12 teams competing for positions in the state tournament that begins next Thursday, February 16, 2012.