Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 04-23-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | APRIL 23-29, 2020 SPORTS & RECREATION 9 The members of the PONAGANSET HIGH CHEERLEADING SQUAD, which captured this winter's Medium Schools state champion- ship, are, in front from left, head coach Meghan White, Ella Dexter, Kylyn Coffey, Bella Prata, Hannah Ouimette, Julia Bruno, and Justice Gouin; in back, Olivia Crum, Allie Silva, Kaleigh Watts, Allison Berger, Ava Polseno, Skyla Picard, Victoria Scungio, Olivia Santos, Payton Adams, Ella Bigelli, and assistant coach Sadie Lindgren. Three cheers for Ponaganset! Cheerleading coach looks back on squad capturing Medium Schools title GLOCESTER – A month after watching her cheerleading team make history, Ponaganset High head coach Meghan White is still sitting on Cloud Nine. A year after beginning the school's competitive squad, White saw the fruits of her team's labors pay off at last month's R.I. Cheerleading Coaches Association Championships at Mount Saint Charles Academy, as the Chieftains put together a remark- able performance that allowed them to win their program's first Division III title. The Chieftains were ready to carry the momentum from that superb meet into the following weekend's RIIL Team Championships at the Providence Career & Technical Academy field house, but unfortunate- ly for them, as well as the rest of the state's cheerleading squads, that event never took place. Two days before the meet, the championship meet got canceled due to the concerns with COVID-19 that upended the sports world not only regionally, but nationally and around the world. But unlike the basketball teams who played in the RIIL's Open Tournament and the boys' hockey teams who were ready to skate in the Division I and II best-of-three finals, the Chieftains were one of six squads to receive state championships by the RIIL – with Ponaganset landing the Medium Schools title. "Being the new team on the block last year was quite a feat for a small town in a big shark tank," offered White, whose assistant coach is Sadie Lindgren. "But coming right out of the gate this season, I knew this team was special." "When we took our first ever first- place trophy during the regular season at Burrillville, we knew we had it in us to have a good year," White added. "It was the drive we needed, and from there, the kids fed off the adrenaline and we made history. These athletes will get to hang a banner!" At the RICCA meet, White, who calls herself "the crazy jumping coach – everyone knows me, I'm loud, I clap," went wild after she watched her squad wow the audience with their routine, and "they knew they nailed that routine when they saw me jump- ing up and down behind the judges," she recalled. "These kids had the drive and dedi- cation to get the job done together, and they did just that," continued White. "For me, it was a dream come true. The stars aligned; the talent, skill, and drive were there, and most importantly, the kids worked together. I'll never forget this group of kids – they took my vision and brought it to life." Only one senior will graduate from this group, team captain Allie Silva, who White called "amazing," "my rock this year," and "your dream ath- lete and teammate." "Allie is full of talent; she would do anything for you," White said. "We will miss her so much on the mat, and I know her flyer, Olivia (Santos), will miss her security underneath her! Allie is going to do great things." The Chieftains' junior class features Kaleigh Watts, Hannah Ouimette, Kylyn Coffey, and Ella Bigelli, and "all my juniors are fantastic leaders – they are truly a power class," White reported. "My best backs and bases for sure." As for her squad's future "and the immense talent we have and continue to build on, the Chieftains are hoping to be a force to be reckoned with over the next few years," White said. "I am so fortunate to be a Chieftain – I wear my green proudly," she continued. "The Chieftain family is like no other; the staff, the kids, the parents, and our athletic director are top notch. I look very much forward to what's to come." By ERIC BENEVIDES Valley Breeze & Observer Sports Editor Rachel A. Baboian, Au. D. Doctor of Audiology Licensed Audiologist Today's hearing aids are barely visible, highly effective and easy to afford. Come hear for yourself with a RISK FREE 30-day trial! FREE Hearing Screenings FREE Hearing Aid Checks & Cleanings Just call to schedule an appointment! 401-475-6116 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Building 3, Suite 307, Lincoln, RI Walid Saber, MD FACC, FSCAL, RPVI Chief of Cardiology - Landmark Clinical Assistant Professor Warren Alpert Medical School Ibrahim Elgabry, MD FACC Director of Cardiac Rehab - Landmark Clinical Assistant Professor Warren Alpert Medical School World Class Care . . . 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