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Cheerleaders headed to regionals

By Kara Hallissey | Nov 02, 2017
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli Berlin Pop Warner cheerleaders on the junior varsity squad are participating in the Eastern Regional event on Sunday, Nov. 5, in Trenton, New Jersey, after taking first place during the Henlopen competition in Smyrna, Delaware, Oct. 22.

(Nov. 3, 2017) Berlin Pop Warner cheerleaders are participating in the Eastern Regional event on Sunday, Nov. 5, in Trenton, New Jersey, after taking first place during the Henlopen competition in Smyrna, Delaware, Oct. 22.

“They did great. One of the challenges this year is we have a much smaller squad, which makes it harder to come up with stunts and make adjustments,” Head Coach Jessie Parsons said. “We have been moving people around and the girls have a lot of duties as fliers, bases and backdrops. You have to be more versatile with a smaller squad.”

There are 12 junior varsity cheerleaders on the squad this year ranging in age from 10-13 years old, with a majority of the girls having cheered together in the past.

The squad started training for the competition in August, getting together four nights each week. Once school started, practices have been cut to three per week. In addition, the cheerleaders perform every Saturday during Pop Warner football games.

They will be competing against teams from Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania on Sunday.

“The routine has cheer, dance, tumbling, stunts, tosses and pyramids,” Parsons said. “You receive an overall score and points for choreography and showmanship. The competition goes by size and skill level.”

The cheerleaders will perform a two-minute 30-second routine consisting of cheer, dance, tumbling, tosses, pyramids and stunts.

If the team earns first or second place at regionals, the cheerleaders will advance to the national championship at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports during the first week of December.

All adult volunteers go through certification programs and participants rely on donations to attend national championships. It costs $1,000 per person to travel to nationals. The squad has six coaches this year.

“If we advance to Disney World, it is a requirement to stay on Disney property,” Parsons said. “I am hoping to get area businesses to sponsor specific girls. It is a quick turnaround time. We would qualify and have to be down there within a month. The rooms have to be paid for a week before competing.”

In addition to the junior varsity cheerleaders, the Berlin junior peewee division also took home first place last weekend in Smyrna and the 18 girls will be moving on to the Eastern Regional competition in Trenton, New Jersey, which will take place Nov. 11.

“Heather Selby is doing a great job with those little ones [8-11 years old] and it’s the first time her group has competed at the regional level. The girls are very excited,” Parsons said. “Our junior varsity [10-13 years old] football team also has their regional competition on Sunday. We have three Berlin Pop Warner teams moving on to regionals. It would be really cool if our junior varsity football made it to Disney and we could cheer for them there.”

Debbie Donahue is in charge of the cheerleading program and Tony Morris is president of the association in Berlin. They have both spent hours dedicated to the program, Parsons said.

“We are taking donations even if we don’t move on,” Parsons said. “The program needs funds for everything we do. It is all volunteer run.”

Berlin Pop Warner is accepting monetary donations for its football and cheer programs. Donations are tax deductible and can be mailed to: Worcester County Youth Football P.O. Box 1517 Berlin, Maryland, 21811.

For more information on the Worcester County Youth Football and Cheerleading Berlin Seahawks, call 443-783-8628 or visit www.BerlinSeahawks.com.

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