NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

March 7, 2014

READY TO FLY

Triton cheerleading looking for first state championship

BYFIELD — Over the past few years, Erin Dempsey has quietly built one of the best cheerleading programs in the area, and now the team is seeking its first state championship in school history.

“Our seasons are typically successful,” Dempsey said. “We have won the Cape Ann League Championship each winter for four seasons in a row. Last year was the first time we won the North Regional title and we just defended that title last weekend in Chelmsford. Now, we have the State Tournament on Sunday.”

As the points stand currently, Triton is the best Division III cheerleading team in Massachusetts. Led by a strong unit of four seniors who have dedicated up to eight seasons to the team, Dempsey’s program is flourishing.

“I took it over in 2008 and the girls have improved skill-wise year-after-year, so the success isn’t something that they take for granted but something that they work hard for,” Dempsey said. “The youth program has been helped by our success, and this season we had a winter JV team for the first time. The success we have had has drummed up interest in the school and community.”

As high school cheerleading has transformed, so too have the Vikings. Tumbling has grown in importance recently, leading teams to incorporate more flashy and difficult skills to their tournament routines.

“Most people notice the high degree of difficulty that we have in tumbling,” Dempsey said. “That’s something that we have built. I have focused on difficulty a lot this year and focused on their skills and making things harder.”

Triton looks to continue its winning ways at Sunday’s State Tournament at Tantasqua Regional High School at 3 p.m. If the Vikings win, it would be the first time in school history.

“Our goal is definitely to win,” said senior Nicole Indingaro. “But most importantly, we just want to give it everything that we have and put it all on the mat.”

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