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April 4, 2012

PSU Competitive Cheer squad to make season debut

Panthers to compete in new format in 2012

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – A new era for the Plymouth State University competitive cheer team begins this weekend when the Panthers open the spring season at the Bravo All-Stars Competition in Stoneham, Mass.

             This will be the first of four competitions for the Panthers this spring.  PSU will also compete at the JAMfest Nationals in Boston on Apr. 14-15, and the Minuteman Nationals in Worcester on Apr. 21.  The US Finals are scheduled for May 5 in Providence, R.I.

     
    PSU Competitive Cheer Head Coach Erin Boylan
     

            Competitive cheer is a new and emerging sport at the collegiate level.  Teams perform difficult routines that last approximately two-and-a-half minutes, and include rhythmic tumbling and stunts, such as hand springs, somersaults, body lifts and multi-level pyramids.  Experienced student-athletes fly through the air while performing flips and twists, landing in the waiting arms of their teammates.  Music and dance is also mixed in, making it enjoyable for spectators as well.  Teams are scored on their performances by a panel of judges based on criteria in different categories.

            PSU will also be hosting a special event this month called Friends and Family Night, which will take place on Wednesday, Apr. 18, at 7:00 p.m. at Foley Gymnasium.

            "Since we won't have any traditional home games like most other varsity teams," said third-year head coach Erin Boylan, "this is a great opportunity for our team to perform at home for our friends, families and fans."

            After supporting a cheerleading program for decades, Plymouth State became a varsity program six years ago and announced last summer the plan to transition from a sideline cheerleading squad to a competitive cheer team. 

2012 Panther Season Outlook

            Coach Boylan says this year's team has been training extremely hard over the past month, and she is excited to see them in competition.

            "I really like our team," said Boylan.  "Their skills have really improved, and they work really hard and never complain. They aren't the most talented team individually, but they work harder than any team I've coached in the past decade.  They don't settle for 'good enough,' they work until they get it right."

            PSU has two returnees from last year's team along with 10 newcomers.  Boylan says the team has more athletic ability than ever. "We have some phenomenal tumblers and some really strong bases," said Boylan, "and our flyers have great air skills."

            Juniors Amelia West and Jess Caisse are the two returnees, with West serving as the team captain.  Boylan says the top newcomers look like freshman Catrina Wade and Sonya MacMillan.

            The rest of the squad includes junior Brooke Ross, sophomores Hannah Davis and Destyne Fannon, and freshmen Katlynn Garon, Lora Jordan, Kendra Makos, Ashley Perry and Cristina Towne.

            "Our goal is to hit our routine every single time we're on the mat," said Boylan.  "We want to avoid any falls or stumbles, and do better each time out there." 

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