WELLSBURG - The Brooke High School Cheerleaders are hoping to bring home another state title for the school as they prepare for the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission's State Cheerleading Tournament in Charleston on Saturday.
The Brooke squad will be among several regional winners competing for the Class AAA division in the competition, which will begin at 10 a.m. at the Charleston Civic Center.
They are advancing after emerging the Class AAA winners of the regional championship, earning 30 points above their nearest competitor, on Nov. 3 at Wheeling Park High School.
REGIONAL CHAMPS — The Brooke High School Cheerleading Squad will advance to the state cheerleading championship in Charleston Saturday after placing first in its division at the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission’s Regional Championship on Nov. 3 at Wheeling Park High School. Coached by Melissa Michaux, Michelle Scherich and Chris Stucin, the squad includes, front, from left, Teirra Duffy, Haley Bowman, Emily Hosler, Katie Nunley, Elizabeth Fernandez and Alex Sperlazza; middle: Dani Johnson, Aubrie Reynolds, Kelly Schambach, Cassi Camilletti, Brooke Clark, Holly Davis, Makayla Moore, Alexandra Velegol, Marin Rogers and Abbi Yachini; and back: Sydney Gambellin, Nicole Himmelrick, Lauren Fritz and Caitlin Cuomo.
Since 1999, Brooke cheerleading squads have won 12 state titles and were runners-up twice.
This year's squad is comprised of captains Teirra Duffy, Haley Bowman, Emily Hosler, Katie Nunley and Alex Sperlazza; Elizabeth Fernandez, Dani Johnson, Aubrie Reynolds, Kelly Schambach, Cassi Camilletti, Brooke Clark, Holly Davis, Makayla Moore, Alexandra Velegol, Marin Rogers, Abbi Yachini, Sydney Gambellin, Nicole Himmelrick, Lauren Fritz and Caitlin Cuomo.
Melissa Michaux, their coach, said the squad includes five seniors and several underclassmen, including two freshmen, who share a common desire to present a perfect routine.
"If they feel it was wrong or bad, they will stay until they feel it's right," said Michaux, who added they have been practicing three to four hours per day, six days a week, to prepare.
Michaux is aided by Michelle Scherich, her sister and assistant coach; and former head cheerleading coach Christine Stucin, who came out of retirement in recent years to assist as volunteer coach.
Michaux noted Stucin led Brooke cheerleaders to many championship victories and as former cheerleaders under her, she and Scherich value her input.
Michaux said the current squad has been viewing films of past squads' routines, from 1997 to the present, as part of their preparation.
Squads participating in the state competition will be required to present two routines. The first is a technical cheer that may not exceed 40 seconds and includes two jumps and various arm movements and formations.
The second must be within 2 minutes and 30 seconds and may be set to music and involve more creativity.
Over the years the squad has gained a reputation for fast-paced routines involving gymnastic maneuvers such as mid-air flips and twists from atop pyramids.
In recent years the competition's coordinators have placed more restrictions on some moves. For example, competitors may not do a tumbling twist from the ground because it's been linked to knee and other injuries, Michaux said. But spectators still can expect a lot of action, as other moves, even from atop a pyramid, still are permitted, she said.
Michaux said whatever happens Saturday, the squad will go about preparing a new routine for the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference competition in February.
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