One of the great joys of following a high school sports team is witnessing the steady improvement of a program climbing up the ladder and making it to the top echelon with some of the best teams in the state.
To be able to see it from the beginning can certainly be a thrill for fans. Can you imagine what it’s like for the kids?
A team that has been on the rise in recent years has been the Wildcats Competitive Cheerleading squad. Last fall, the Wildcats snagged third place at Regionals and fifth place at states. In the winter, the team took second place at the Small School Co-Ed Division South Sectional meet and then followed that up with a third place finish at states. Three members of those squads have gone on to cheer at Division 1 schools.
Now, under first year head coach Courtney Chester and assistant Kerin O’Brien, the seeds have been planted for a growing program with 23 athletes on the roster including 10 from the senior class, two juniors, eight sophomores, and three freshmen: a good mix of leading upperclassmen and emerging youth that could lead the team to special heights.
They’ve also inspired the next wave of Wildcats cheer when they hosted 50 members of the Milton Youth Cheer program on their opening night, possibly setting the tone for future stars to arrive on campus and continue the tradition.
For four days during the week, Chester, O’Brien, and their team work to perfect the skills essential to competitive cheer. The stunts, the cheers, the tumbles, the flips, the Red and White have been laboring day-in and day-out to get these routines down, all while being led by the team’s four captains: Alexandria Eckardt, Ava Hunt, Norah Walsh and Madeline Troiano.
They have also had the benefit of practicing at an adjacent gym built strictly for cheerleading, shielding them from any distractions having to share Copeland Fieldhouse may bring, and also occasionally working with the Curry College cheer team, learning from a high-up program.
Due to teaching and inspiring the youth program, working hard and improving thanks to adequate facilities, learning from an elite-level college team, and brand new leadership, all things are looking up for the MHS cheerleading team, but Chester wants her team to master techniques in all areas and not just on the mat.
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