North Andover Scarlet Knights Cheerleading '07

Hundreds of cheers

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Wednesday, October, 03 By Drake Lucas
Staff writer

The North Andover cheerleaders have hundreds of cheers to choose from at every football game. They aren’t just out there yelling, though. The squads also perform tumbling, stunts and pom pom dance routines.

“One thing we focus on is the roots of cheerleading – leading the crowd and promoting spirit,” said Coach Donna Armstrong. “In other schools it has really become all competition. We actually cheer at games. What we practice on the field will come through in competition.”

There are 20 varsity cheerleaders and 16 junior varsity cheerleaders. Junior Ali Bowe and seniors McKenzie Kelley and Caitlin McGrath are the captains. The cheerleaders have two seasons - football in the fall and they can choose to also try out for the winter squad which cheers for basketball.

McGrath, 17, said the squad has grown a lot over the past two years and is advancing in competitions. Last year they placed in regional and state competitions to make it to the nationals for the first time where they placed sixth. “We have really got a lot of strength,” said McGrath. “The team has realized how important it is to stick together. People are really starting to know our name now.”

McGrath said the cheerleaders are dedicated to their sport - eight of them coach younger squads of girls in the fifth grade and middle school when they are done with their own practice.

Bowe, 16, said cheering is about teamwork, adrenaline and a lot of hard work.

“People see it as something easy, as if we just stand there and wave pom poms,” said Bowe. “It’s been a long process to make them see what we do is really important and actually hard work.”

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