On Sunday, the Whitman-Hanson cheerleaders landed two things – their routine and a MSSAA Division 2 state title.
The Panthers, under the leadership of head coach Tanisha King, boasted a 197.70 score to top North Attleboro (196.3), Shawsheen Valley (193.1), Assabet Valley (178.0), Milford (177.0), Billerica (174.5) and six other competing schools.
“It felt amazing considering especially in the fall, we didn’t place where we wanted to,” King said. “They have done amazing picking up from coming in fifth [in states in the fall] to going down to Dallas and winning the national title down there and then just keeping up the momentum all the way through states.
With the victory, senior captains – Alison Joanis, Hannah MacDonald, Olivia Villanueva and Payton Wright – captured their sixth state title.
“They have all been four years on varsity,” King said. “Their commitment and dedication these past four years has been remarkable. They’re not only amazing cheerleaders but they’re role models.”
The win comes on the heels of the cheerleaders scoring a 202.20, which was tied for the highest out of 27 competing schools, Sunday, March 5 to claim a South regional title.
It has been a busy season for the W-H cheerleaders. They have captured an NCA national title, a Patriot League championship, a regional title and now a state title.
King said it’s easy to be complacent in the midst of winning but her team’s competition keeps it from being content, and coming in fifth during the fall season served as a wake-up call.
“It’s not an easy road,” King said. “It’s not like we’re in a division where you’re expected to win every time. Every year there is either a new team that steps up to the plate or even the teams that are hungry for their chance to win a state title. I always try to tell my team, ‘There is always someone in the gym working harder than you,’’’.
The squad vies for a Division 2 New England crown Saturday, March 18 at Providence Career and Technical Center at 10:30 a.m. This will be the last competition of the year for W-H.
“Since Dallas, we’re trying to go for that perfect record,” King said. “Go out and perform your routine one more time, the best you can and hopefully come home with the New England title again.”