The Central Connecticut Conference Cheerleading Champion-ships were held on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Berlin High School, where the Plainville High School Blue Devils walked away as the overall champions.
Amber Fitzpatrick has been coaching the Devils for the past four years. She said their season began in May 2019 when tryouts were hosted.
From there, the team spent time preparing to cheer for their fellow Plainville High School athletes, on top of choreographing their competition routine. After many months of preparation, her team won their division, as well as receiving the title of grand champions.
“They worked really, really hard,” said Fitzpatrick, “and it’s always exciting to get out there and just show what they’ve been working on for the past eight months.”
Of the 32 teams in the conference, 23 teams competed in the competition, representing schools from across the North, East, South, and West divisions. Finishing in first place in the South division was Plainville; first place for the North division Wethersfield; first place in the East division was South Windsor; and first place in the West division was Northwest Catholic.
One of the event organizers, Heather Allenback—coach of the Southington Blue Knights cheer team—explained each team was scored on their dancing, tumbling skills, their cheerleading arm motions, their stunting and pyramid formation, the technique required to execute all of those actions, and their expression and voice during the cheering component of each two and a half minute routine.
Allenback’s team placed third in the West division, but winning isn’t the only thing these teams are after when they walk onto the mat.
“From cheerleading in general I always want them to just learn how to be confident,” said Stephanie D’Angelo, coach of the Bristol Eastern Lancers who finished fourth in the South division, “to learn how to be a good teammate, a leader in all aspects of life, and how to be a good role model and knowing sportsmanship.”
Similarly Erin Coombs—who coached the Bristol Central Rams into fifth place in the South division—said that she wanted her team to leave the mat with “the joy and excitement of the day and the sport.”
“I just want them to go out there and have fun, you know,” said Fitzpatrick. “They work really hard, they put a lot of pressure on themselves, so just to come off that mat feeling closer—being proud of themselves is probably the best feeling and it comes pretty close to winning.”
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