HHS Cheerleaders Proceed to Nationals

staffwriter

Hiller Cheerleaders practice their routine on Monday in preparation for upcoming Nationals. Photo by Katie Ryan

By Katie Ryan
“Saying that this season has been a good one for Hopkinton High School cheerleading is definitely an understatement,” says Tia Mastrogianis, one of the four senior captains of the team this year. With the guidance of its coach, Melissa Heiligmann, and its four captains, Tia, Molly Niland, Chelsea Carlson, and Tanya Strom, this team of twenty-three girls has been working and training hard all year to receive a bid to Nationals.On March 26, the Hopkinton cheerleaders boarded a plane to Orlando, Florida to compete at the U.S. Spirit Nationals at Universal Studios. They will be competing in memory of Tommy Weaver, a fellow classmate who died on Sunday, March 21, of brain cancer. To prepare, the girls have added the number ’81’ to their competition bows, the number of Tommy’s football jersey.

Mastrogianis comments, “We have become more than a team. We have become a family, a support system that can push through times as saddening as these and band together to accomplish goals.” As the cheerleaders give it their all at Nationals, they feel a little reserve for Tommy’s family, friends, and fellow classmates who are back in Hopkinton.

Carlson says, “We hope to bring a National title to Hopkinton High School for the very first time and bring this town’s cheerleading team to a whole new level for the future.”

Cheerleading is a subjective sport, and is scored based on tumbling, stunting, expression, motions, and the overall flow of a routine. “Our sport gives us just two minutes and thirty seconds to put every ounce of energy, strength, and spirit into our routine, and to prove to the judges that we deserve to win,” says Niland.

With a record breaking season for the Hopkinton cheerleaders, they started off their season strongly as they placed second against North Attleboro, a town they have been battling for first with throughout the season. At the Tri-Valley League Championships, the Hiller cheerleaders came out on top in first place, scoring a record high ninety-one for Hopkinton and were named the competition’s Grand Champions. Strom says, “We were practicing harder than ever, and it paid off.”

In addition, they were awarded the Sportsmanship Award and qualified to compete at the Regional Championships the following weekend. There, the Hillers tied for second with North Attleboro, but later took second after a penalty deduction. Their success at the Regional Championships qualified them for the State Championships, where they placed fourth overall and received their bid to Nationals.

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