Saturday, November 17, 2007

"We're Going to States!"

Photo by Dave DeMelia
TAUNTON -Fri. November 16, 2007
The Bristol-Plymouth Craftsmen are not content with just competing at the MSSAA State Cheering Championship this weekend.
Now that they’re in the door at states, they have their sights set on reaching the National Championship. To get a bid for nationals, B-P must finish first in the Coed Division Sunday at Shrewsbury High School or place in the top 3 with a score of 160 points or more. There are eight coed teams scheduled to compete.
“I definitely didn’t think states, but now I have nationals stuck in my head,” Bristol-Plymouth coach Meghan McGraw said. “I told them in the very beginning the only thing I wanted them to get was a league title so they could get the league title back and they could get a banner.”
The Craftsmen accomplished that feat two weeks ago. Then last weekend, Bristol-Plymouth took second at the South Sectional tournament to qualify for states. This is the second state championship appearance by the Craftsmen in the program’s history. In 1999, B-P was the Division III South Co-Champion.
“We’ve been working hard all week,” McGraw said. “Usually our expectations were to get to regionals and just to get to states and now we want to go to Florida or somewhere for nationals.”
The Craftsmen, who feature two boys, are hoping to B-P on the map.
“I think this is a great opportunity to show what we’re made of this year,” senior TJ Pimental said. “All the years before that I’ve been on the team, we haven’t been as great as we are now.
“I think it’s great we’ve made it to states, but I’d like to see us go to nationals because I think it would be great not only for the team but the school.”
Senior Andy Demello has been surprised with how well the Craftsmen have done.
“This season has been unbelievable,” he said. “We’ve grown so much.”
What makes the Craftsmen so special is the relationship among the cheerleaders — both male and female.
“It’s nice having the boys here,” McGraw said. “They all get along. I don’t have any kids that get into trouble on the team. Each of them individually is so different, but they’re all really good kids.”
Bristol-Plymouth became a coed team four years ago and has had at least one boy on the team each year since then.
“It just happened that there was a boy who said ‘hey I can tumble. Can I try out?’” said McGraw. “And I was like ‘wow.’ Once he came on, he kind of broke the ice for everybody else.”
Kellie Kangiser is counting down to Sunday’s competition, which begins at 10 a.m. and includes five divisions.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “Now everyone can’t wait to go to regionals.”
Senior captain Katie Rizo just hopes her team nails its routine.
“I’m hoping that we at least get a good score even if we don’t move on to nationals and prove that we are a good team and we can accomplish things,” she said.
Members of the Bristol-Plymouth cheerleading squad are seniors Pimental, Demello, Kangiser, Rizo and Nicole Luppino; juniors Meagan Castro, Asia Camara, Linda Sirois and Brittany Tower; sophomores Toni Restagno, Nicole Abene, Keshia Anderson, Khara Rego, Samantha Lyon and Ana Downing and freshmen Alyson Gwozdz, Allie Andrews, Kaylee Silveira, Olivia Parry, Brittany Raposo, Cortney Morais and Jessica Barboza.

TAUNTON – Sunday Nov. 11, 2007
The one thing the Bristol-Plymouth cheerleaders have not done in head coach Megan McGraw’s four years is reach the state championship. That was the Craftsmen’s goal this year.

On Sunday morning at Taunton High, Bristol-Plymouth accomplished that feat by finishing second in the Coed Division behind Barnstable. “They were beyond psyched,” McGraw said. “There were a couple of really good coed teams there. They were like, ‘we’re going to states.’

“They could have been more solid, but they hit everything. They had the best dance and best jumps. They hit everything — nothing fell.”

The berth in the state meet comes after a remarkable showing the previous week at the Mayflower League championship when the Craftsmen captured three titles — Coed, Mayflower and Overall.

Bristol-Plymouth was the only local team to move on to states. Coyle-Cassidy, Dighton-Rehoboth, Bridgewater-Raynham and Taunton all came up short, but still had strong performances in front of a packed Taunton High Fieldhouse at the South Sectional meet.
The Tigers and Trojans both competed in Division I, which was won by Braintree with 179.5 points. Attleboro was second followed by Franklin and Needham. All four teams will compete next weekend.

“I thought the girls did excellent,” Taunton coach Ina Collins said afterward of her team, which has seven seniors. “We have great seniors. We have leadership with our seniors. They’ve really helped pull the team together I feel.”

Fellow Taunton coach Caitlin Crowninshield agreed.

“Divison I is the hardest division so just making it to regionals is an accomplishment,” she explained. “The top three or four teams in the state are in the south region so just to compete and be able to be on their level is an accomplishment.”

The Tigers entered Sunday’s competition coming off of a third-place showing at the Old Colony League Championship. Attleboro won the OCL crown and Barnstable took second in front of Taunton by just .5 points.

“It’s a tough league and a tough division,” Crowninshield said. “Just to be able to be on the same level and compete with the same skills as everyone else is great.”

Bridgewater-Raynham coach Lisa Matta-Paze was also excited about her team’s performance.

“They did really good,” she said. “All we wanted to do was come in with a clean performance.”

The veteran Trojans feature nine seniors. “This was a big year, Matta-Paze said. “They wanted to go out strong. There are so many competitive girls here. They’re unbelievable.

“I didn’t know how it would turn out, but I’m happy with my squad. My seniors are very happy with themselves and it’s all about feeling good about yourself at the end.” Matta-Paze’s daughter competes on Coyle-Cassidy’s team, which performed in the morning session. Dighton-Rehoboth kicked off the afternoon session with its Division II performance.

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