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Susan Bridges Recognized With SWC Outstanding Coach Honor



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From leading the squad to championships to the behind-the-scenes effort she puts forth — including serving as a team mom of sorts — Newtown High School Cheerleading Head Coach Susan Bridges does it all.

Bridges, for her efforts, was recognized with the South-West Conference’s Outstanding Coach Award and was honored this spring.

“I was surprised. I’m grateful, humbled — a lot of amazing coaches in the SWC,” Bridges said.

“I love it, I do — I really love it. It’s ever-evolving,” Bridges said of coaching the girls.

Bridges has coached 16 years at Newtown High and said she has had to make adjustments to her coaching style. “You’ve got to keep up with the times,” she noted.

Throughout the years Bridges has consistently put emphasis on getting the most out of her athletes.

“She has such high standards for her girls,” said Newtown High School Athletic Director Matt Memoli, adding that Bridges possesses a high level of professionalism and gets her teams involved with community service activities.

During her tenure, the Nighthawks have been SWC Champions six times — three straight years from 2014 through 2016, as well as back-to-back in 2019 and ‘20, and again in 2024. They were Class LL State Champions in 2020, and The Team of the Year in 2023.

Coach Bridges was named Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA) Coach of the year in 2018, and has had 14 athletes go on to cheer at Division I schools. She has had countless All League, All State, and All Academic athletes. NHS Cheer has also had two cheerleaders recognized as Cheerleader of the Year.

Bridges has served as the CHSCA Cheerleading representative for Class LL from 2016 to 2019. She has also served on the score sheet committee for five years, and has been the SWC Co-Chair since 2015.

In 2013, Bridges started the first Unified cheer program at NHS — without hesitation her proudest achievement. The NHS Spirit Team comprises varsity cheerleaders with special needs athletes. The Spirit Team performed at basketball games and cheer competitions throughout the winter.

In addition to coaching, Bridges has served on the hiring committees at NHS for the athletic director as well as varsity boys basketball, girls’ soccer, and softball coaches.

Bridges oversees multiple community service events throughout the year with her team, and runs a youth cheer camp which is in its 20th year. In the offseason she is in charge of the statistics for varsity girls’ lacrosse.

Beyond the accolades there is much more that makes Bridges a special coach.

“She’s kind of like a mom to us,” said junior cheerleader Ella Macey. “She treats us like her family. She donates a lot of her personal time.”

Bridges lives in Sandy Hook with her husband John; they have three daughters — Meghan, Meredith and Madeline — all previous D1 Athletes in their respective universities, and former NHS athletes.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

Newtown High’s cheerleading team competes in the State Championships this past winter. The team is led by Coach Susan Bridges, who won the SWC’s Outstanding Coach Award. —Bee Photo, Hutchison
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