Experienced Patriots set for 2019 campaign
Following the 2018 season, where MAU placed fourth in Pom and sixth in Hip Hop at the Vermont state meet, the Patriots lost five seniors to graduation.
Despite those losses, MAU returns a group filled with dance experience.
The Patriots boast a roster with 11 seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and one freshman.
One of those 11 seniors, Savannah Rogers, has been on the team since she was a freshman and most of the other seniors have two or three years of experience as well.
"They know what to expect and they know what work needs to be put in," said MAU coach Erica Cummings, who enters her eighth year as a coach for the Patriots. "That's helpful that when I'm saying things, they know why I'm saying them. There is a lot of experience, so it makes you hopeful that things are going to go in a good direction for us and that we'll be able to have some nice placement."
The Patriots will count on a trio of seniors in the role of captain this year with Rogers, Marissa DeJesus and Brianna Murray taking on that mantle.
All three seniors have tons of varsity experience and Cummings trusts them to lead by example for the rest of the group.
"They all bring a lot of experience and a lot of really good leadership," Cummings said. "They all know how to push the team and really get them to where they need to be to get better."
MAU has a handful of first-year dancers, who have impressed Cummings early on and all figure to play a critical role in the Patriots success.
In particular, Cummings pointed to freshman Haley Gaudette as someone who has stood out early on.
While there is still work to do, MAU has put together a strong preseason leading up to today's competition. They've performed their routine during home basketball games.
"We are working on our Jazz and Pom routine for the first competition and have nailed it down pretty well," Cummings said. "We've been working through some different techniques and different formations. Overall, I think they're really pulling through and giving their best."
Following today's competition at Missisquoi, MAU competes at Colchester next Friday, before hosting a competition at Kates Gym January 19.
After the home competition, they compete at Middlebury on January 25. They finish the season with the Northern Vermont Athletic Conference championship meet, before competing at states, at Vergennes High School, on February 23.
Today's competition is set for a 1 p.m. start.
Roster: Marissa DeJesus, Savannah Rogers, Brianna Murray, LaShea Stewart, Molly Austin, Kyonna Tobin, Jordan Barilone, Alicia Maisonet, Samantha Sohl, Kierstin Martin, Ellen Woodard, Alexus Robie, Ashley Martin, Kayla King, Carlee Hayes, Haley Gaudette.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.