Newtown High School’s cheerleading squad and dance team are both coming off memorable seasons in which they entertained fans and supported their peers on the football field in the fall and basketball court in the winter, then wowed the judges at their own championship competitions to cap off their campaigns.
The cheer squad earned a second-place finish in the state championships last winter and is striving to again make noise in states as well as in the South-West Conference championships. The Nighthawks will host the SWC finals on February 1.
“We’re really excited for this season,” Cheer Coach Sue Bridges said. “We’ve gotten some new freshmen in there who add a little bit of life to the team and we have some seasoned veterans who have surpassed last year’s stunt routines.”
“We work on skills every day,” said Bridges, adding that the team members push themselves to advance their abilities in each practice. “I think every coach hopes for a state championship. That’s definitely in the backs of our minds.”
The cheerleaders work on, among other routines and moves, tumbling, single leg stunts, synchronized efforts, basket tosses, and the popular bag cheer.
“I’m really looking forward to improving from last year,” cheer captain Samantha Luzietti said.
“We’re a really close-knit team. We’re together all year,” fellow captain Carly Sullivan added.
Dancing To The Top
The dance team came in first for its Hip Hop routine and second in its Jazz routine in the SWC finals last year. The girls also recorded a fourth-place finish in the state championships.
“We’re really striving to hold our title at SWCs and do something in states,” Dance Coach Cheryl Stenz said. “We had a really good summer of choreography.”
Stenz has been with the team four years, since it changed from club to varsity status, and she’s seen the program grow to 22 team members this fall.
“This is the largest team I’ve had so far,” she said. “They’re all really talented and they really work well as a team.”
The dancers are led by captains Olivia Hoffman, Lindsay Brestovansky, and Haley Cobb.
Both the cheer and dance squads will remain active in the community, participating in various fundraising events, and supporting causes such as the Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s fight against breast cancer.
The cheerleaders will assist the Newtown Fund Holiday Adopt A Family Program once again. The dancers, this coming weekend, will perform at the Newtown Arts Festival at Fairfield Hills.