Quinebaug Valley Pride has something special to cheer about

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Mon., Dec. 2, 2013
The cheerleaders were flying high at their team's 14-0 halftime lead. Photos by D. Coffey.
The cheerleaders were flying high at their team's 14-0 halftime lead. Photos by D. Coffey.

The Pride Cheerleaders had plenty to cheer about at halftime on Thanksgiving Day. Their team, the Quinebaug Valley Pride, had put 14 points on the scoreboard while shutting out the Killingly High School Redmen at the Killingly High Sports Complex. It was a complete turnaround from one year ago when the Pride suffered a 50-7 loss to KHS on turkey day. So when it came time for their routine, they capitalized on the score. 

It seemed their pyramids were stronger; their tosses more powerful, their flyers went higher. Head coach Sheila Partlow credited the girls’ performance to hours of conditioning, with cardio and abdominal exercises, timed mile runs, and weight lifting. “These girls work hard,” Partlow said. “There’s a lot to it.”

There was the dance component in which all 29 of them had to move in synchronized fashion. There were the basket tosses where groups of three to four girls threw flyers into the air. There were the soft, safe catches at the end of the stunts. Everything was choreographed to counts.

McKenna Wilson and Haylee Olson might have been cold after their halftime routine, but that didn’t dampen their enthusiasm. “The team is doing awesome,” Wilson said. With an 8-2 record, a 14-point lead, and the chance to make the state tournament for their first time ever, the boys were playing hard. The girls were right behind them. And they had every reason to be confident they’d be present at the state tournament, too. “The team has improved a lot,” Olson said.

And they were right. At the end of game time, the Pride’s 14 points were enough for a win and the Commander’s Cup Trophy. The team and its cheerleaders were moving on to state tournament play.

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