By Devin Bates, Sports Intern WSU ‘18
WESTFIELD – Lately, the Westfield High School cheerleading team has been jumping for joy.
The Westfield Bombers cheer squad participated in two competitions over the weekend. The team finished third at the 54th Annual Pacer Invitational at Chicopee High School on Saturday, and ended the weekend with a fourth place finish at the Eye of the Tiger Competition at South Hadley High School on Sunday afternoon.
It was the second time this season the Bombers were able to showcase their cheerleading skills in competition after finishing second at the Ready for Combat Cheer Invitational at Ludlow High School Feb. 11.
The Eye of the Tiger Competition included a two-minute sideline performance as well as a one-minute halftime performance. Several divisions were open for competition: Varsity, JV, Co-Ed and Junior High School. Trophies were awarded for placement in each division.
Westfield High cheerleading coach Stephanie SanGiovanni was excited by her team’s performance.
“I am very proud of what my team has accomplished in such a short time,” San Giovanni said. “More than half the team has never cheered before and we had to start from basics. These girls exceeded my expectations of them and I cannot be more proud to be their coach.”
SanGiovanni, in her second year, presides over a team of 13 athletes: eight freshmen, one sophomore, and four seniors. The senior class includes captains Elizabeth Blackwelder and Kaitlyn Ferye.
Many of the cheerleading athletes competing this winter for Westfield participated in other sports during the fall season, and the transfer to cheering has been something coach SanGiovanni is guiding them through.
“There are a lot of new athletes coming from soccer and volleyball, and it opened their eyes because of how different cheering is,” she said.
Despite little time and experience, the team put on a solid performance and took more out of the weekend than just third- and fourth-place finishes.
“In cheerleading it is not always about what place you come in, but being able to beat your own score from the previous competition,” SanGiovanni said. “Our goal this weekend was to beat our score from our first competition of the season. The girls were able to increase their score by nine points, something they are very proud of.”
The team will be back in action on Feb. 25 when they will compete in the West Springfield High School invitational at 12:30 p.m.