While the northeast was still reeling from the effects of Blizzard 2013, four Masco Youth Cheerleading teams headed down to sunny Florida to put their skills against the best cheering teams in the country aiming for national recognition.
The UCA National High School Cheerleading Competition was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World in Orlando. To get to the event, teams needed to qualify first, doing so in November when six Masco teams went to the New England Cheer and Dance Competition in Boston at the Reggie Lewis Track Center.
Of the six teams, all qualified and four accepted the bid: The JVD Team, 3rd grade- coached by Michelle Gaudin and Jenn Oakes; The JVC Team, 5th grade- coached by Lynne Bermudez, Rosemarie Lucey, and Cassandra McMahon along with student coaches Amanda Verruso and Ashley Lucey; The C Team, 6th grade- coached by Alisa Orgettas and Pam Jeffreys, and student coach Allie Slattery.; and The A Team, 8th grade- coached by Stacy Fallon and Lisa Costello, and student coaches Alyssa and Kaylee Buono.
The girls practiced for an extended two and a half months beyond the regular end of the football cheering season, sacrificing free time in an effort to perfect their routines, which consist of two and a half minutes of cheers, stunts, dance and tumbling. Their hard work earned impressive scores for this, their first ever, National competition. Lynne Bermudez, coach for the 5th graders said she has never been more proud of all of the Masco cheer teams. "The girls did an amazing job. You would never know it was their first time on a national stage," she said.
The 8th grade team competed in the 14 and Under, Sr. Recreational division. There were fourteen teams from across the country in this category, with the 8th grade taking 10th place. The 6th and 5th grade teams competed in the 12 and Under Jr. Recreational. They had 11 teams in their division and placed 7th and 6th, respectively. The youngest Masco team to compete were the 3rd graders, who competed in the 9 and Under Youth Recreational, earning them a trophy and 5th place in the nation. There were seven teams in their division.
"The weekend was an awesome experience for girls and parents alike...The girls had the time of their lives. It was an experience they will never forget. There were also a great group of parents that supported us and followed us to Florida," said Stacy Fallon, coach for the 8th grade team.
The Masco Youth Football Cheerleading (MYFC) program is comprised of seven teams of 180 young ladies in grades 1-8 from Topsfield, Boxford and Middleton. The season begins in mid-August and runs through the regular football season in November, and into February with teams competing around the region. The UCA was the first National Competition for any Masco teams.