CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. - The senior cheerleaders at Dixie Heights High School got a standing ovation as they took the court for the final time Thursday evening.
One of the people cheering them on from the stands was Sabrina Smith, the team's former coach. Smith and an assistant coach were fired after they took the squad to a national competition in Orlando, Fla.
"We were really hurt when we heard the news," said Smith.
Smith says the team was originally told they could not compete because of a new policy requiring an administrator to be with a team on an overnight trip. She says the school's principal, Karen Hendrix, said the team could go on the trip if they competed as an independent team, rather than one representing Dixie Heights.
Principal Hendrix did not confirm that report.
However when the team got to Orlando, Fla. they were told they were not allowed to compete as an independent squad so they affiliated themselves with the high school.
Despite the fact they were successful, finishing eighth out of 37 teams, school officials said the team broke its new policy and fired the coaches.
The controversial decision has been difficult for many people on the team, especially the seniors.
"This year has been unlike any other. We've all been such a unit and just one family. Just to know that part of that family is being broken off is just really hard," said cheerleader Logan Stewart.
The news was also hard for some of the parents.
"They went from the weekend being elated that they improved their performances from Round 1 to Round 3, and then to come back to the school, making their work up, and to find out that their coaches have been dismissed is a shame," said parent Beth Ott. "An absolute shame."
The high school was not available for comment.