Not one, but two Pop Warner cheer squads earned the right to compete
at the prestigious National Competition in Disney World Dec. 5 –
9th. Unrelenting dedication and a committed coaching staff combined with
superior skill, teamwork and a desire to be the best, lead the Jr. Pee Wee
and Midget cheer squads to a shot at Pop Warner glory.
The Jr. Pee Wee’s incredible journey began at the Mountain Valley
Conference (MVC) competition in Bridgewater on Oct. 15th with a first
place finish. They competed against four other squads, beating out the
Montgomery Wildcats, who placed second and the Hillsborough Dukes, who
came in third.
The Watchung Hills Wolverines were the only squad from the
MVC to move on to the Qualifier competition in the Medium Novice category.
From there, they placed first at the Qualifier competition at Sun Bank Arena
in Trenton on Oct. 30th ahead of the Howell Lions, the East Brunswick
Golden Bear Chargers and six other talented squads from around the state.
At Saturday's Regional competition, they were one of 13 teams from
a five state region (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, DC), placing second behind the Metuchen Bulldogs.
The Midget squad placed first in the Medium Intermediate category in the
Mountain Valley Conference championships on Oct 15th, then proceeded to
the Qualifier in Trenton on Oct. 30th. There they again placed first ahead
of the Iselin Giants and the Hillsborough Dukes. Sunday at the Regional
competition at Sun Bank Arena they faced five other squads, placing first again
ahead of the Iselin Giants.
The Watchung Hills Pop Warner cheerleaders and their coaches have worked
diligently since the first week of August, changing and perfecting their
routines in order to contend with the talent from across the region. At
competition events, each squad performs a 2½-minute routine with music
combining cheer, stunting and dance elements. They are judged on a variety
of criteria including choreography, jumps, stunts, timing and precision.
Anyone privileged enough to attend the Disney National Competition will
undoubtedly witness a dynamic display of spirit, teamwork and athleticism
from these amazing girls. It is a long and difficult road to the championships
but those who have had the good fortune to compete there consider it the
thrill of a lifetime.
There are 18 girls on the Jr. Pee Wee team, ranging in age from 9-11. They
are: Hailey Crawford, Makenna Decker, Eden DePekary, Gina Fiacco, Isabelle
Friedman, Summer Huber, Ashley Johnson, Kendal MacTaggart, Lexie
Magidson, Sophie Marsillo, Kendyl Messarosh, Alexa Mistichelli, Justine Piro,
Andrea Rica, Ariana Salermo, Kelly Saum, Shannon Twill and Amanda Weiss.
Coaches are: Angela Salermo, Denise DePekary, Nicole Mistichelli and Bessie
The Midget squad consists of 14 girls, ages 12 – 13: Olivia Braunstein,
Alexa Butrico, Marissa Butrico, Kiki Goldstein, Alexa Hait, Brianna King,
Alexa Mandel, Melissa Marion, Samantha Marion, Jessica Mendez, Katie
Napell, Tatiana Salermo, Katie Tiarks, and Karly Trimble. Coaches are Cindy
Braunstein and Kris Trimble. Watchung Hills Cheer Commissioner is Lori
For more information about Pop Warner Cheerleading and Football, go to
Submitted by Andy Marion