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Competitive Spirit

FREQUENT FLYER: A-C Valley’s Baylie Wingard Fearless When It Comes to Competitive Spirit Despite Injuries Suffered in Other Sports

PARKER, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Baylie Wingard’s ATV racing career didn’t last long.

A tree saw to that.

In just her second time riding a quad during a competition last September, Wingard careened off course and slammed into a tree.

When asked how fast she was going at impact, Wingard offered a quick quip.

“Fast enough,” she said before letting out a chuckle.

(Pictured above, Baylie Wingard gets set to take her place atop a pyramid for a competitive spirit stunt for A-C Valley/submitted photo)

Wingard suffered a broken left arm in the accident and had to undergo surgery to repair the fracture.

That was all the reason she needed to say goodbye to that sport for good.

It wasn’t her passion anyway. Competitive spirit is and Wingard scrambled to get back and healthy for that season last winter as a sophomore at A-C Valley High School.

Healed and ready to go as a flyer — at the top of the pyramid and doing stunts — Wingard helped the Falcons to another District 9 co-ed competitive spirit championship.

It was the second title in a row for A-C Valley.

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“It felt really good,” Wingard said. “It felt really good my freshman year to be able to go to Hershey and then do it again last year. It just looks good for our school.”

Wingard, who will be a junior this year, is perfectly suited for competitive spirit and being a flyer.

She has a gymnastic background, is flexible and nimble enough to do the sometimes-complicated stunts and is fearless, too.

Wingard is no stranger to cheerleading. She became one at a young age.

“I just stuck with it,” she said. “I became the flyer and I just wanted to do it and loved it.”

As a freshman, she and her teammates competed at the state competition in Hershey.

It was an eye-opening experience for Wingard.

“It was really frightening,” she said. “But once you go out and get into it, it’s not that bad. It gives you a rush of adrenaline and you just don’t think so much about it.”

The team puts in a lot of time, first on conditioning and then on perfecting a two-minute routine that will make or break their hopes.

Hours and hours of practice for just a 60-second performance.

(Wingard stand at the top of the pyramid holding the District 9 co-ed championship plaque for A-C Valley, which has won two consecutive titles/submitted photo)

“It’s so much work,” Wingard said. “We’re actually in open gyms now and then we start cheer camp. That’s when we learn our competition routine and we go the whole school year practicing it and then we compete in the winter.

“It’s a lot, especially with schoolwork,” she said. “But it’s also an escape.”

Wingard is also a softball player, joining the high school team for the first time this spring.

But like her ATV racing career, her sophomore season didn’t last long.

She broke the same arm again.

Wingard was playing outfield for the A-C Valley/Union junior varsity team when she made a diving catch on a fly ball.

As she landed, her left arm was pinned under her. Wingard knew immediately that she had fractured it again.

This one was more severe. She had broken the arm at the same spot as her ATV accident, but also suffered a second break in another location.

That injury also required surgery to repair.

“It was the same thing we did the last time,” Wingard said. “It’s called a closed reduction. They don’t actually cut me open. They just pop it back into place as I’m asleep.”

That has allowed Wingard to heal more quickly.

She is still going to physical therapy, but will be ready for this competitive spirit season.

“I’m already up in the air, flying,” Wingard said. “I started flying (Tuesday) at practice.”

Despite her brushes with broken bones, Wingard refuses to allow herself to become timid.

As a flyer, she can’t afford to think that way.

“Accidents happen,” she said. “You just have to be prepared for it and willing to take the risk. When I did competitive cheerleading for the first time, I was scared to go on stage and risk falling in front of everybody. I never did because you just don’t think about that stuff. You go out there and have the mindset that you are gonna forget about everything.”

It certainly has worked for Wingard and A-C Valley.

The Falcons and coach Stacey Fox have designs on another D9 title this year.

“I think we’re gonna do it again,” Wingard said. “We lost three seniors and one was my base. But we already have those spots filled. We get a lot of people. I think it’s more because of the coach (Fox) because she’s just everyone’s favorite whenever it comes to cheerleading. That kind of draws them toward us. It’s really fun to have different people trying new things.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.