By MIKE CHAIKEN
The Plainville High School Blue Devils cheerleaders are champions once again.
The squad managed back-to-back conference division championship at the CCC cheer competition at Glastonbury High School on Feb. 22.
The victory in their conference division sets the stage for their arrival at the CIAC Class M championship on Saturday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
The 2014 championship in the CCC South comes just shortly after the squad hung its 2013 championship banner for the same honor in the school gym.
Coach Courtney Perrotti reported the Blue Devils pulled off a score of 75.35 to top six other teams in their division. Of all the squads from the assorted corners of the CCC, Perrotti said the Blue Devils had the second highest score of the afternoon.
After the competition, the squads received the judges’ sheets, said Perrotti. And the coach said the 16-member squad were given kudos for their stunting ability. Even though they finished top of their division, Perrotti said the judges said the Blue Devils’ tumbling and movement needed work, “which was a surprise.” She said the judges felt the Blue Devils needed more variety in their motions.
Heading into the Class Ms, however, Perrotti said fans shouldn’t expect the squad to change up the routine. Despite the comments at the CCCs, Perrotti is confident the routine is on the mark. The Blue Devils just need to do the routine more cleanly at the Class Ms. The routine wasn’t as clean as it could have been at the conference competition, she said.
Like many other sports, Perrotti said the numerous snow days played havoc with the cheerleaders preparation for the CCC South contest. The cheerleaders have limited gym time as it is, the coach said. So, rearranging practices is always tough. “It gets girls nervous.”
Prior to the Feb. 22 event, she said, the Blue Devils had intended to have one last practice on Wednesday, Feb. 19. But the weather conditions forced the high school to cancel all after school activities. Perrotti said the squad hastily arranged a practice for the Friday night before the conference contest. That could have proven disastrous if a member was hurt that night, she said. There wouldn’t have been time to retool in time for the CCCs.
Perrotti said the title in the CCC South truly was a team effort. Unlike basketball or other sports, where one player can excel and bring the rest of the team with him or her, Perrotti said cheerleading depends on the entire unit. Everyone on the floor needs to be as strong as they can be, said Perrotti.
Although the skills of the squad depend on the unit, Perrotti provided compliments for her seniors. She said they are always offering encouragement to the other members. And she said they do their best to pump up the excitement for the younger members to ensure they wanted the crown as much as the older members of the squad did. Of course, Perrotti said, as seniors, they want to go out with the crown.
Perrotti said Plainville is hoping to rebound from its 2013 performance, in which the squad placed just 11th due to circumstances beyond its control.
The coach explained, last year, one of the critical members of the squad was hospitalized the night before the states. There wasn’t time to fix the routine properly without that team member’s participation. “The girls were upset. They completely lost their focus.”
But the Blue Devils plunged forward all the same, said Perrotti. “We did the best we could.”
This year, she said, there will be a full squad. “That will boost our confidence.”
Asked if there were any squads in Class M she saw as the ones to beat, Perrotti said there are a “ton of good schools.” But she doesn’t like to, and she doesn’t want her squad to, compare the Blue Devils to other teams. “It psyches them out.”
At the CCCs, Perrotti said, the Blue Devils were the first squad up before the judges. This meant Plainville cheerleaders didn’t have a chance to see how the other teams did before they could hit the floor. That meant the Blue Devils’ focus was on their performance and not the other teams they were up again.
The key heading into the Class Ms, Perrotti said, is for the Blue Devils to “do the best we can.”
The 2014 CCC South Division Champions from Plainville High School cheerleaders are: Lauren Acey, Jenna Arens, Kathryn Beloin , Kiya Broughton , Kaitlyn Butler, Nina Catanzaro , Kristen Couture, Isabella Donahue , Courtney Goodall , Tiffany Goodall , D’Nasia Holley , Nicole Lembo , Paige Pratt , Madison Richardson , Rachel Warner , Realite Williams.