RHS cheerleaders take regional title

Photo by Jon Olender Members of the Rutland High School cheerleading team celebrate Rutland’s 1st place win in Division I on Saturday evening during the VT State Cheerleading Championship held at Vergennes High School.

Staff Report

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The beat goes on for the Rutland High School cheerleaders. A squad that collects championships the way kids used to collect baseball cards has done it again.

They followed up their state championships by winning the New England Division II title over the weekend at Southern New Hampshire University. Divisions are based on the criteria for Massachusetts school alignment.

All the success has made for a lasting memory for the seniors as they wind down their career. Seniors on the team are Abigail Clark, Ainsley Pagano, Coral Robert, Gabby Chadwick, Kelsey Lockerby, Kiara Wilkins, Revi Cooper, Summer Amerio and Zoe McFadden.

Juniors on the team are Aubrianna Dydo, Haley Lear and Madison Bourassa.

Sophomores include Amy Lacross, Eliese Bouchard, Maya Sobel and Olivia Patrick.

Freshmen are Baylee Austin, Eleese Pedro, Eva Menconi, Katie Hass, Kiara LaPenna, Madison Smith and Shelly Sobel.

Last month the team brought home its fourth consecutive state championship and its ninth since 2002. The Raiders also have a national championship on their résumé.

The title was particularly rewarding for Clark, who broke her arm cheering last year and almost didn’t make it back from the injury.

The New England title, Clark said, was a more noteworthy accomplishment than the national crown, because the competition was of a higher level.

“This weekend was so incredible because the competition was so intense. There were so many more teams there from all-star gyms,” she said. “There was a lot of real talent there.”

Clark said the Raiders lacked in the tumbling area compared to some teams, so they had to make certain their routine was of a very high difficulty.

She also said the Raiders were not as confident as they sometimes are when the winners were being announced. That had nothing to do with their own performance, but more with high caliber of the competition.

“The competition was just so intense,” Clark said.