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NAUGATUCK — For the first time since 2016, the Class A Cheerleading Championship trophy won’t be coming back to Nauagtuck.

The three-time defending state champion Tug Valley Panther cheerleading squad was not allowed to compete in the Region tournament this past weekend in Parkersburg due to Mingo County being in the red on the COVID-19 color-coded map, which ended their pursuit of a fourth consecutive state title.

TVHS head coach Tara Mitchell Wolford and Athletic Director Clyde Farley pleaded their case to the WVSSAC, and even offered to have every member of the squad tested for COVID-19 prior to being allowed to compete.

But to no avail, as neither the WVSSAC or Gov. Jim Justice budged on the guidelines that go along with the color-coded map and the Panthers were not allowed to compete.

Additionally in Class AA, the Mingo Central Miners cheerleading squad also could not compete in their region competition. Previously, both the Mingo Central soccer teams and volleyball squad as well as the Tug Valley soccer and volleyball team had their postseasons cut short due to Mingo County’s status on the weekly map.

Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.