BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Deane Bozeman school pumped up their competitive cheer team Thursday with a heartfelt send-off as they advance to a state finals competition.

The school hadn’t had a competitive squad in over five years. But, they came back this year with a new team and qualified for the state finals.

Since May of last year, the 20 girls have practiced several hours a day, and several days per week to prepare for the competition. There will be several other Bay County area schools also competing for the title.

Bozeman’s Principal Ivan Beach explained how cheering during football season differs from competitive cheer, and how rigorous the sport is.

“Most people used to seeing cheerleaders on Friday nights, not even close to be in the same thing,” Beach said. “These athletes put in just countless hours. It’s a precision sport. There’s no room for any type of mistakes. The girls have been launched into the air tumbling, flips, all the different things that they’re doing.”

Bozeman cheer won the middle non-tumbling division and will compete in Gainesville for the 2023 FHSAA Competitive Cheerleading State Championship.

The school’s younger cheerleaders shouted chants and waved their pom-poms as the team prepared to head out.

The state competition will take place February 3rd and 4th in Gainesville, Florida.