East Providence High School competition cheer team leaps back into action

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EAST PROVIDENCE — Still in its infancy as a sport locally, the East Providence High School competition cheer team returned this winter for another season of action under second-year head coach Chris Ricci.

The Townies have participated in two tournaments to date, finishing second to Warwick Vets among 10 teams total in their most recent contest held at home last Wednesday night, Jan. 30. E.P. finished fourth out of nine teams in its season debut two weeks ago.

"It is fairly new compared to all most other sports. Competition cheer is a highly athletic and competitive sport not only in R.I. but nationwide and is finally getting the recognition of being a sport," Coach Ricci explained. "So far we have had 2 competitions and done well. The season looks very promising."

East Providence's roster this season includes seniors Alexis Cardoso, Hayley Feola, Amanda Michon, Hayley Vine and Ben Veiga, the first male to join the team. The juniors are Tori Ash, Haley DeFontes, Kadjia Shepard, Isabella Torres and Jillian Vieira. The underclassmen are sophomores Jessica Cordeiro, Dalynn Jacobs, Alexis Leaf, Taylor Medeiros and Justyce Morris along with freshmen Kyra Heron, Arianna Mello, Kelsey Poissant and Jayla Semedo.

Bobbie Simon, coach of the East Providence cheerleaders for fall sports, has come on board this winter as an assistant to Coach Ricci, who credits her with choreographing the team's routine. "My assistant coach is an amazingly talented young woman. Words cannot describe what she means to me and to this program," Coach Ricci said of Coach Simon.

"We are competing for the first time ever as a co-ed squad," Coach Ricci added. "This is a very strong and talented team. They work very hard and it definitely shows when they get on the mat. Our season is very different form the other winter sports. While all the other sports are just now entering playoff season we are just winding up. The first six weeks of our season is teaching a routine. It takes weeks of hard work to be ready to compete."

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