After working all season to perfect their two-and-a-half minute routine of tumbles, pyramids and basket catches, the Mt. Hope competition cheerleading team finished second in the large division on Saturday, beating out Toll Gate, Cumberland, Woonsocket and LaSalle in the state championship meet.
Throughout the day on March 15, 22 Rhode Island high schools competed in the all-girl competition in either the large, small or medium divisions. In addition, three schools sent a co-ed team, and two schools had a junior varsity squad.
As Mt. Hope’s team took the mat in the large division, coach Debby Marshall stood between her team and the judges’ stand using gestures to remind the girls to smile and alternately mimicking their routine and cheering for each successful move. In preparation for the championship meet, Ms. Marshall said she “tweaked up” the routine to give it a little higher degree of difficulty.
“There was a little bobble, but nothing big,” Ms. Marshall said after the team completed their routine.
Choreographer Reggie McCormick agreed.
“It’s about getting everything at the time they need to hit it. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” he said.
When all the teams in the division completed their routines, they returned to the mat awaiting the judges’ decision in the top two teams.
When Mt. Hope was called as the second-place finisher, the girls screamed in excitement, huddling together in celebration.
“We’ve been the underdog for so long. This is the best,” said Rebecca Millard.
Throughout the season, the team tried various routines before selecting the one they performed at the states.
But that all changed when it counted the most.
“We try to find the best in everything,” Jenna said of her teammates. “For once, we did.”
The winner in the large division was Portsmouth High School.
2014 Mt. Hope High School
Competition Cheerleading Team
Head Coach: Debby Marshall
Assistant Coach: Kristen Carbone