By MIKE CHAIKEN
You could call them the Class M “Comeback Kids.”
After a less than satisfying 11th place showing in 2013 due to circumstances beyond their control, the Plainville High School Blue Devils cheerleaders found themselves in second place in the 2014 Class M cheerleading competition held in New Haven Saturday.
That effort earned the Blue Devils, who also won the CCC South title, a ticket to the regional competition in Lawrence, Mass. on March 22. This will be the Blue Devils’ debut at the regionals.
“It was a truly amazing feeling,” cheer coach Courtney Perrotti about the Blue Devils’ performance at the states. “There was a much different attitude among the girls this year than last. They were calm – confident.”
Given the conference title, Perrotti said, “We weren’t changing the routine too much (heading into the Class Ms) so they knew they could hit it. They’ve been working this routine since December and it showed. They were finally really confident and comfortable with it. Before they went on, they were calm. Ready for it.”
“Overall ,our scores were pretty good in everything,” said Perrotti when asked about the assessments made by the judges. “They’re a very well-rounded team. We lack in our tumbling. We only have about half the team who tumbles. That’s something we need to work on for next year.”
But, Perrotti said, the judges felt “our strength was definitely our stunts. They were solid. We also incorporate a ton of difficulty, which allows us to score in the elite category.”
“Ironically,” the coach continued, “where we lost points for conferences, the state judges complimented us. It’s all a matter of opinion and how they like the routine.”
Watching her cheerleaders on the floor performing for the judges, Perrotti said, “I was proud that they nailed it. That they put any fears they had aside and came out and rocked the floor. They came off the mat and I had chills. I just looked at them as they were out of breath, and all I could say was ‘It was so good.’ For me to say that to them overwhelmed them – their faces lit up. One of my seniors, Paige Pratt, asked ‘Can I hug you?’ It was just such a great feeling.”
Only the top three teams of each division get an invitation to the regionals, explained Perrotti. “We’ll be up against teams from states in the Northwest. I don’t know a ton of information about it because we’ve never been before or had to look into it. I’m playing it by ear.”
In the days leading up to the competition regionals, Perrotti said there will be a little tweaking here and there to polish up the Blue Devils’ routine for the new set of judges. “We still need to work on the timing of our stunts and our pyramid. The pyramid was new to us for this competition so we need to work that a little more too.”
But as they prepare, the coach said, “I want the girls to have fun. This is an opportunity we’ve never had. They deserve to enjoy this. I don’t want it to be something they fear.”
Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver.com.