Experienced group leads the way for MAU cheer

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BENNINGTON — One look at the Mount Anthony cheer team and you can tell it's not your average squad.

These kids play soccer, softball, field hockey, volleyball and track for the Patriots in other seasons. Others cheer year-round, while others still are in competitive gymnastics throughout the year.

These kids aren't just cheerleaders, they are athletes who happen to competitively cheer.

"These kids are athletes and they are year-round athletes," said MAU coach Jamie Capriola-George. "Their strength and stamina is incredible."

The Patriots have three seniors in Kaiden Gauthier, Maddisyn Kinney and Ciarra Raetz. All of them have been leaders in their other sports as well, something that is paramount.

"My three seniors are very strong and have strong personalities," Capriola-George said. "They're completely willing to help the others, give them tips. The younger kids look up to them, listen to them and put it to use. Having their teammates coaching is more powerful to them. It's amazing to listen and watch them do it."

The rest of the team includes two juniors in Kyla Obenauer and Iris Patterson; four sophomores — Keana Gauthier, Amber Metcalfe, Jordan Mattison and Marisa Rabideau — and a trio of ninth graders — Zoey Stanley, Dalphne Roy and Madison Boyer.

"The majority of this group of kids have [competed in cheer] for years, since they were young," Capriola-George said. "It's something they enjoy and they come back year after year. Some do it year-round and some don't, but when it comes to winter season, they come back on the mat and they do it together."

Capriola-George said that because of the trust involved with doing moves and routines that include getting thrown into the air, the team having a good relationship is essential.

"They have a good working relationship, they work really hard. If someone isn't comfortable [doing a move], someone else will step in to take their place. They really work well together. A lot of trust is necessary with the lifts and pyramids."

Last year, the Patriots were third in Division I at the state tournament, which qualified them for the New England tournament. Competing in Division III, MAU was sixth overall, less than two points shy of a top-five finish. Out of all the Vermont teams that competed at the regional event, MAU was second in points.

The rest of the Patriots' schedule comes in the next month. They travel to Guilderland on Sunday, then host a showcase on February 4 at Mount Anthony Union High School. On February 10, they will compete at Rutland before the state championships one week later at Vergennes.

And the future of the team is bright. The middle school team competed at the varsity meet at the University at Albany last week and won their division with the high school team finishing second.

"The numbers are really good," Capriola-George said. "The kids are coming in young and sticking with it, and that's helping to feed up into the middle school and high school programs, giving us quality teams that can produce at events."


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