WORCESTER – The incredible season has continued for the Wilmington High School cheerleading team. On Sunday morning, the Wildcats placed second at the Division 3 MSAA State Championships held at Worcester State College.
Dracut was the winner of the D3 section with 96.5 points (out of 100), with Wilmington second with 91.6, followed by East Bridgewater (90.1), Burlington (87.7) and then Shawsheen Tech (86.6) to round out the top five teams.
Wilmington's impressive score was also the sixth highest across the state, through four divisions, trailing Dracut, Rockland (D4) and then D1 teams Framingham, Franklin and Bridgewater-Raynham.
"It is a great accomplishment for this team, but we knew we were capable of being in the top as long as we hit our routine," said head coach Christina Zuccaro. "We had some pretty big mistakes earlier in the season, and worked on the corrections needed. Our goal is to be at states every year.
“We knew with a hit and the talent on this team we’d be in contention for a top spot. We have worked very hard to get into the top ten at the states and aim to get better each season."
This year's team returned almost the entire roster from last year, minus one cheerleader, and also added a few talented girls, including freshman Tiffanie Smith.
"We knew we would be strong since most of the team are sophomores with strong gymnastic and cheer backgrounds," said Zuccaro. "Varsity cheering is a big commitment with practices, games, competitions, community events, and balancing their academic workload.
“Many of these girls have part time jobs and Kendall Estabrook, Tori Ciampa and Kaitlyn Gillespie are junior coaches in Pop Warner along with many other teammates who go in to help. Expectations are set high for cheerleaders to be good role models in the community. These 15 ladies put in a lot of work to compete together in and out of the gym."
That dedication and hard work has helped the Wildcats take first place at the Middlesex League Championships and now second place at both the Division 3 North Sectionals and then the Division 3 state meet.
"Our accomplishments wouldn’t be possible without the support of our families and friends throughout the season," said the coach. "Wildcat Cheerleading Alumni stop by to see the girls at games, practices and many travel to watch competitions with their families and friends. Our football team and Pop Warner cheerleaders have come out to watch us compete all season and we appreciate it. Having a large crowd made it more exciting. We thank you all."
In addition to the accomplishments on the mats and in the gymnasiums, the girls also get it done in the classroom.
"We had over half the team make High Honors or Honor Roll," said Zuccaro.
The coach added that Emerson Foresyth, Jessica Hayduk, Rachel Nally and Abigail Silveira all made high honors, while, Alison Celata, Alex DiRienzo, Sofia Donovan and Kaitlyn Howland all made the honor roll.
"There is a lot to be said about their accomplishment and effort," Zuccaro said. "It’s not always easy, but the feeling they had coming off that mat yesterday knowing they did the best they could is amazing. There were lots of hugs and happy tears. Myself and the other coaches know we have work to do to get better and stronger. We’re not done yet and see a bright future for this team."
Besides Zuccaro, the other coaches include Kelly McGowan, Kylie Bolarino and Debbie Smith. The roster includes: Kaitlyn Howland, Shannon Barrett, Abby Silveira, Alex DiRienzo, Jessica Hayduk, Kendall Estabrook, Kaitlyn Gillespie, Alison Celata, Sofia Donovan, Emersyn Foresyth, Rachel Nally, Julia Campbell, Allie Fogg, Tori Ciampa and Tiffanie Smith.
SHAWSHEEN TAKES FIFTH
Shawsheen qualified for a bid to the State Tournament at the Regional Competition. The Varsity team at Shawsheen has Wilmington students Teagan McDonald and Hailey Donovan. They had a great performance helping the team finish fifth at the D3 State Meet.