WEST NEWBURY — It was a historic day for the Pentucket cheerleading program.
With hundreds of excited fans crowding its new gym, Pentucket hosted the school’s first CAL Championship Thursday night. North Reading were crowned CAL champions after scoring 87.1, with Georgetown just behind in second with 85.7. The host Panthers finished with a solid 80.5, and Triton – competing in the co-ed division – came in with 82.8.
Teams need to score above 67.0 to qualify for the Regionals, so all of our Daily News area teams keep progressing. Once in the Regional, the team had to score above 80.0 to be able to compete a week later in America.
But, in the case of Pentucket, it’s something to worry about in the future.
Because on Thursday night, there’s a lot of pride — and even more noise — coming off the crowded benches of the Panthers’ new gym. And that is something that will not be forgotten by everyone involved in this program for a long time.
“I really feel very meaningful to have him here,” said Pentucket senior Kiki Sylvanowicz. “This is our new school, and it’s the first event at the gym. It’s great for our program to be able to host it, and I feel like it’s helped us make a name for ourselves.”
After the magnificent National Anthem sung by Pentucket student Paige Nottingham, Ipswich kicked off the night with a routine. The Tigers were followed by Triton, led by captains Isabella Rosenau, Kayla Harrington and Sofia Savino.
Next is Manchester-Essex, followed by Pentucket.
The gym erupts into a frenzy as the Panther gets ready to take to the floor, and the section of students present has one final surprise. You see, at a football game, the Pentucket cheerleaders have created the now famous cheer that the student section loves, called: Pump it Up.
After a quick cheer asking the audience to join in, the cheerleaders shouted “Pump,” followed by a section of students chanting “Pump,” in response. It was of course followed by “This,” then “Up.”
It became a favorite of the student fan section. So when the Panthers took their starting position on the floor, the fans started a “Pump! It! Up!” chants to support their team. That certainly didn’t go unnoticed, and the Panthers went on to carry on their routine well enough to qualify for the Regionals.
“We have a lot of energy so I’m happy with what we’re doing,” said Sylvanowicz. “I loved the student part and how they did ‘Pump it up!’ They’ve been really supportive and that’s definitely helped us bounce back. We can all lose that energy. Plus we’re moving to Regional, which we’re all very happy about.”
Georgetown were the penultimate team to leave, and put in a great performance. Senior Sophia Wing, committed to Acrobatics & Tim Tumbling at the University of Oregon, is one of the co-captains of the team along with Alexis Murphy.
Courtney Lynch, Ashly Dufrense and Jaelyn Dewey are the captains of Pentucket.