Manhattan Patriots pom pons squad wins tournament
By Erin Gallagher Correspondent December 25, 2013 9:30AM
The Manhattan Patrios pom pons squad | Courtesy of Cheryl Vlach
Updated: January 27, 2014 12:26PM
Look out, Rockettes, here come the Manhattan Patriots pom pons.
Seventeen third- and fourth-grade girls won first place in the Illinois Recreational Cheer Association, largely due to their kick line.
Together as a team since the summer, these 8-to-10-year old girls practiced three times a week for two hours each. They work on all areas of the pom pon and cheerleading sport, including gymnastics, stunts, jumps, kicks and synchronization, according to Head Coach Tracy Lenard.
The girls sign up for recreational cheerleading and learn stunts to perform during the Patriots football games. Competitions, however, were optional.
Other schools they competed against specialized in only one area. The Patriots learned it all, and only competed in dance routines involving poms.
“Once football winds down, we get rally serious about dance,” Lenard said.
The team’s two highest scores were kicks and pom work. They went into the final competition at second place, trailing by one-tenth of a point. Showing strength and synchronization, the girls took first by 2.1 points
“Their kick line was so great, that was their highest score,” Lenard explained, describing different kinds of kick, such as fan, line and floor kicks.
The winners included Manid Albecht, Lily Broderick, Deven Darlinger, Devin Dennison, Maddison Eckert, Nina Hammad, Keira Hosman, Mia Kuypers, Ava Leitherer, Aubrey Lenard, Rachel Mitchell, Payton Murray, Hailey Nolte, Taylor Szutenbach, Emily Vlach, Grace Ward, Maddie Zitkus.
The assistant coaches were Alison Darlinger and Jennifer Mitchell. The two junior coaches are Angelina Muzzarelli and Samantha Mitchell who both attend Lincoln Way High School.
Although the Patriots are organized through Manhattan, girls came from other towns, including Monee.