PROVIDENCE – A mere one point was all the difference.
For the second consecutive year, the West Warwick Wizards’ cheerleading squad finished second overall in the Medium Division at the R.I.I.L. team cheerleading competition this past weekend.
With 157.5 total points, the Wizards finished just behind the Portsmouth Patriots, who captured the trophy with a score of 158.
“We are judged on eight different criteria and after looking at everything, it came down to a half of a point. That’s what we needed to tie them and one whole point to actually win. It’s tough when you come so close,” Wizards coach Jennifer Alves said. “We dropped one stunt and that hurt us. If we nail that stunt, we are the Rhode Island state champions right now.”
Although they did not win their division, the Wizards second place finish qualified them for a spot in the New England competition this Saturday.
“It hurts right now, but we will still be competing after this. Finishing in second means we qualify for regionals coming up on Wednesday and we are excited about that,” Alves admitted.
A missed stunt did not damper the strong overall performance West Warwick displayed.
In fact, the one misstep seemed to boost the team’s morale as they finished their routine with flawless execution.
“We are happy about the way we performed. We had really high dance scores ,” Wizards coach Kristin Nelson said. “The girls recovered very well after they missed that one stunt and picked themselves up.
“The girls did their best to finish the routine off well and they did and we are proud of them.”
The strong effort did not go overlooked by the judges, who selected four individual performers to compete at the individual cheerleading competition.
See WIZARDS, Page B-2
“The coaches association selects the top 20 individual cheerleaders to compete in the state and we have four of them, so we are quite proud of the girls. They are all great to work with,” said Nelson.
The four Wizards’ selected to compete in the individual championships tomorrow at LaSalle Academy at 5:30 p.m. are Leighton Landroche, Marisa Proulx, Taylor Gargano, and Maeghan Flanagan.
“It’s a different environment and the criteria is a little different. The girls all compete individually and are judged solely off of their performance. Leighton actually qualified last year as a sophomore. So to have four girls go this year, says a lot about this talented group of girls and the program they have built here,” Alves said.
West Warwick will have week to rest and recooperate before taking the floor again Saturday at the Providence Career and Technical Academy, start time for the event is 8:30 a.m.
This will be the final event for seniors Jenna Cavalieri and Rachel Soares, who have been strong, committed leaders of the team and will be missed.
But with a roster full of young, eager competitors, the Wizards should be a threat to challenge for the regional crown as well.
“We are expecting to do well. We did well here with our pyramids, our dance routine was strong,” said. “This is our second year as coaches and the girls have improved so much and to come in second place twice in the states, with the tough competition we are facing, is quite an accomplishment,” Alves said. “The New England’s are going to be tough, but the girls are all excited and looking forward to the challenge.”