NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

December 9, 2013

'The Super Bowl of cheerleading'

They’ve been making a lot of noise in downtown Newburyport over the holiday season so they can make some more at Walt Disney World next year.

“This is the Super Bowl of cheerleading,” said director of the Newburyport Youth Cheerleading program and A Team coach Hollis Caswell, who will be bringing her 12- to 14-year-olds to Orlando to compete in the National High School Cheerleading Championships Feb. 8-9. “We’re very excited that we have the opportunity to go.”

Both Caswell’s A Team and the D Team (ages 8-10) won their bids to Nationals at the New England Cheer and Dance Competition in November. The A Team finished in second place in their division behind Mitchell Memorial and the D Team tied for second with East Bridgewater and behind Silver Lake.

“For me, as a coach, this is big,” said Caswell. “I went last year but not as a coach. This is my team. It’s very exciting to be a coach that is going this year. But for the program, this is huge. This is a dream come true for the girls.”

A Newburyport native and former cheer captain at Newburyport High School, Hollis has coached one NYC squad or another for the last six years and watched as the D Team made it to Nationals last year. But now it’s her middle school students who will be joining the third- and fourth-graders.

“I knew their chances were small and they would have to execute the routine perfectly to be able to win at the New England Cheer and Dance Competition,” said Caswell. “The other teams were just that good.”

It turns out the A Team were better than all but one in their division and the scene at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston when they placed second was electric.

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