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Bear cheerleaders bring home another state title

by Bob Martin
Sports Reporter - Gilford Steamer, WInnisquam Echo, Meredith News

The Winnisquam Regional High School Spirit team won its second consecutive Division 3 title last week, beating out Bow for the win. Courtesy Photo. (click for larger version)
March 22, 2018
TILTON — The Winnisquam Regional High School Spirit team became repeat champions when it took the Division 3 title last week.

Coach Ryann Riberdy said she couldn't be more proud of her team, saying that it is never easy to repeat as champions, especially when the team was a fairly young and diverse group of student athletes. There were 11 students who competed, which was a mixture of some who were there last year and others who were new.

"The beginning of the season was a little tough in terms of molding and gelling, but it was great to see them come together as a team as the season went on," said Riberdy.

The division has five teams, which includes Winnisquam, Campbell, White Mountains, Berlin and Stevens. While it is a small division, Riberdy said it is competitive and fun. She also noted that while Campbell can be considered a rival, in cheering it is a bit different. She said the two teams are very positive toward each other and it was fun to compete.

"It's like a positive rival," said Riberdy. "They keep us competitive."

Riberdy explained that the team went to invitational meets throughout the year to compete. She said the preliminary competition was a success for Winnisquam. The team was judged on stunts, motions, dance, tumbling, jumps and pyramids. There are also subcategories like formation and time. There is a difficulty score and an execution score.

Riberdy said the difficulty in the division was across the board, and the teams were in the same range. In the preliminary competition, she said the focus was to nail the routine and generate an appeal with the judges. The team did miss a stunt, which did cost points, but the team came out on top ahead of Campbell.

"We were all shocked and they were so happy," said Riberdy.

In the state championship, Riberdy admitted that Campbell did not have its best day. She said this can happen to any spirit team at any time, and this is an aspect of the sport that makes it so interesting.

"On any given day anyone can win," said Riberdy. "You either have it or you don't."

Riberdy said nerves were taking over for her team, but the team went on the floor and performed incredibly.

"It was amazing because these kids worked super hard through things like the flu, and snow days, and all kinds of adversity," said Riberdy. "I have some veterans who are hardcore and never miss practice, which can be intimidating sometimes, and then there are some new kids. It was a tough year at times and winning was a nice icing on the cake for them to know they can do it."

Next year Division 3 and 4 will combine for the first time, which should add even more competition. Riberdy hopes the team can come back and go for a three-peat next season, despite losing four seniors.

"We might not be amazing rock stars next year, but you never know, because we weren't supposed to be this year and we came away with the win," said Riberdy. "Any given Sunday, as they say."

The team consists of Julie Amico, Mckenzie Ball, Kayla Briere, Chloe Colarusso, Olivia Dill, Brooke Edmunds, Madison House, Jaycilyn Lane, Victoria Laporte, Amanda O'Leary, Allyson Lloyd and Alexis Carpenter. She said the group was a pleasure to coach, and it was great to watch them grow as a team and as people.

"I try to build them as citizens, and they are overall good kids," said Riberdy. "I am so proud of them and all the work they have done."

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