PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Plymouth State University varsity cheerleading team will perform under a new head coach in 2009-10, beginning this month when the Panthers perform at a pair of home men's and women's basketball doubleheaders at Foley Gymnasium.
The Panthers will make their debut Saturday, Dec. 12, when Plymouth State takes on Eastern Connecticut University (women at 1:00 p.m., men at 3:00 p.m.) The team will compete in some cheerleading tournaments next semester and will perform at PSU home men's and women's basketball games this winter.
The new coach for the Panthers this season is Erin Boylan, who has successful head coaching experience as spirit coach at Bishop Brady High School in Concord, N.H., and Manchester (N.H.) West High School. She takes over from Jen Middlemiss, who coached the Panthers for one season. This is PSU's fourth season with cheerleading as a varsity sport.
Some of the key tournaments the team will compete in are the New Hampshire State competition in Durham and the New England Open Championships in Connecticut. The Panthers finished runner-up at the Open College Nationals in 2007, and placed first the New England Open Championships in 2008.
2009-10 Panther Season Outlook
The preseason training and conditioning has gone very well, according to Boylan (right). It is a young Panther squad of 16 members, but no seniors on the roster.
"We have a very young but eager group of ladies," said Boylan. "I'm impressed with their hard work and dedication. It's very early, but they are working well together and willing to do whatever I've been throwing at them."
Boylan said the team will be disciplined, well-conditioned and polished this year, both on and off the court. She's hoping the transition to a new coach will be as smooth as possible.
"We have a solid group of returnees that will lead the team," said Boylan. "Our four juniors will be important to the success of the team this season. Our freshman class is loaded with in-state talent and all come in with great skills. They will help lay the foundation for future success of the program."
Leading the group of returnees is junior Chandra Touch (Portland, Maine/Portland), a three-year veteran who is now in her second season as team captain. She is a very hard worker and leads by example, according to Boylan, and is a great leader for the younger members of the team.
Other returning members of the team are juniors Leah Bergeron-Rosa (Manchester, N.H./Central), Jackie Delmonte (Nashua, N.H./North) and Jess Rickard (North Attleboro, Mass./North Attleboro) and sophomores Jessica Dichard (Nashua, N.H./North) and Cayla Micelli (Beverly, Mass./Beverly).
The seven freshmen on the squad are Jess Caisse (Hudson, N.H./Alvirne), Megan Hurley (Billerica, Mass./Billerica), Rebecca Leary (Holliston, Mass./Holliston), Brianna Neveux (Nashua, N.H./Bishop Guertin), Amelia West (Nashua, N.H./South), Whitney Walker (Dover, N.H.) and Brittney White (East Winthrop, Maine/Winthrop).
"I've talked to the team about my vision for the future of Plymouth State Cheering, and they're all buying into it," said Boylan. "The girls are dying to get on that mat and show the University and the cheer community that Plymouth State is a team to contend with and will be in the future."
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