Friday, February 2, 2024

Varsity cheerleading squad earns big boost at multi-school competition

By Matt Pascarella

After an impressive fourth-place finish in their previous competition, Windham’s varsity cheerleaders took on Bonny Eagle, Gorham, Sanford, Thornton Academy, Noble, Scarborough, Massabesic, Deering, Marshwood, South Portland, Biddeford and Portland at Noble in North Berwick on Saturday, Jan. 27 and placed fourth out of 13 teams at the Southern Maine Activities Association cheerleading competition with a score of 63.9 – almost a full 10 points higher than the previous week.

Windham varsity cheerleaders Lily Woodcock, a freshman,
left, and junior Ella Roberts take a high vantage point during
the Southern Maine Activities Association cheering
competition on Saturday, Jan. 27 at Noble High School.
“I think this week’s performance was a huge improvement from last week,” said Windham varsity cheerleading coach Amber Direnzo. “Last week's score was 54.2 and we also got fourth out of 11 teams. We did a lot of work cleaning up the routine and using our feedback from our first competition to make adjustments for this week. I don’t think I had a full expectation coming into today, but they did so great last week that I was hoping they’d improve upon last week and I think that they did. They hit their first stunts more solidly. And also, the express-up didn’t hit last week and it hit today. They did so great, I’m so proud of them. The opening stunt ... the toss, all their formations, all looked really good.”

Direnzo said their tumbling wasn’t as synced up as last week, but that’ll come with more practice because she knows the team can do it.

“Our stunts and technique definitely went up and I’m looking forward to seeing that reflect in our scores,” said Windham junior Ellieana Archibald. “We’re here to prove that we’re better than last year and improving from our last competition. Having our fans there and our parents really helped; the energy was just crazy today. I think just a few of our stunts need to be fine-tuned; we need to get them in shape and that’s it. I’m so proud of my team, I feel like we blew each other’s expectations out of the water, so it’s just a great feeling. [Our goal was to] keep improving ... and I think we met that goal today.”

The crowd was electric, and the gym roared every time a new school took to the mat. Schools cheered for each other, and the environment was very supportive of all the teams.

“My goal was to have the most energy and I think we accomplished that,” said Windham junior Ella Roberts. “All of the stunts hit, and we were all very happy at the end; and I think we accomplished almost everything on our goal list. Before you go on, it can be really nerve wracking; I was really worried about the express-up, and we hit it and that just made the whole routine work better, because we were all so happy. Tumblers proved themselves and they did so well; we knew we did good. Things that need a bit of work are we need some more tumbling; we could have tighter stunts and tighter motions.”

Windham’s performance was full of stunts, which is when they go up in the air. One of the more advanced stunts they did was an express up which is when they start on one leg and switch legs as they ascend. The performance also featured flips, jumps, a pyramid, and a lot of enthusiastic cheering. The team was very hyped, and everyone had a lot of spirit.

“There was a lot of good energy,” said Windham senior Monica Lewis. “Our team has come super far since last season and we’re a lot stronger and everyone did their jobs. Our goal was to place higher than we did last week and [have] a stronger routine and try and fix the things that we could work on. Our stunts all hit, which was an improvement from last week and everyone’s energy. We did an amazing job and I’m proud of everyone for how far they’ve come.” <

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