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AN­NAPO­LIS — The award-win­ning North Dorch­ester High School cheer squad took its show on the road Thurs­day, Jan. 5, as the guest spirit team for the Navy men’s bas­ket­ball game against Bos­ton Univer­sity in An­napo­lis.

With stu­dents on win­ter break, the Naval Academy in­vited the Ea­gles to be the cheer team for the game. The visit marks the sec­ond straight year the team served as the Mid­ship­men’s cheer squad for a bas­ket­ball game.

The squad did a va­ri­ety of rou­tines dur­ing the game and time­outs, along with as­sist­ing with give­aways and con­tests for the fans. By DUSTIN HOLT

“It is an amaz­ing honor to be in­vited as the bas­ket­ball team’s cheer squad for their game,” said North Dorch­ester cheer team coach Am­ber Aaron. “The Naval Academy told us how im­pressed they were with our per­for­mance at last year’s game and wanted us to come back again this year.

“The girls have so much fun here. It re­ally makes us feel ap­pre­ci­ated that the Naval Academy keeps invit­ing us back.”

The per­for­mance marked the sec­ond trip to An­napo­lis this sea­son for the Ea­gles. On Nov. 12, the team per­formed at Navy-Ma­rine Corps Memo­rial Sta­dium for the Navy foot­ball game with cheer and pom squads from all over Mary­land, Vir­ginia, Delaware, Penn­syl­va­nia, New Jersey and Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

The dif­fer­ence with Thurs­day’s trip was North Dorch­ester was the lone team at the game and per­formed rou­tines through­out the even­ing. The squad did bas­ket throws, tum­bles and in­ter­acted with fans. The Naval Academy gave the team a blank can­vas for what it could do.

“It was our show,” Aaron said. “We love the fact that we can do stunts on the side­line. We don’t have the op­por­tu­nity to do that at our school be­cause we don’t have enough side­line space.

“They give us full reign for the game. We can do bas­kets. We can do tum­bling. We also get the priv­i­lege to throw stuff out in the crowd. We are giv­ing up free stuff, so the crowd is ex­cited to see us, and we are ex­cited to see them.

“This team is, by far, one of the most amaz­ing teams I’ve coached. They do amaz­ing stunts and per­for­mances, but also they love each other and sup­port each other. They are re­ally good friends. They care about each other. They all get along. They are highly mo­ti­vated and easy to coach.”

In 2013, the North Dorch­ester High School cheer squad earned the Judges’ Choice Award and third place as a Large Mount Team at the an­nual Ga­tor Bowl cheer­lead­ing com­pe­ti­tion in Jack- sonville, Fla.

North Dorch­ester com­peted against 17 other schools in its first trip to na­tion­als since 2003. The com­pe­ti­tion co­in­cides with North Dorch­ester’s sched­uled per­for­mance on New Year’s Day at half­time of the pres­ti­gious Ga­tor Bowl.

Af­ter last sea­son’s per­for­mance at the Navy bas­ket­ball game, the Naval Academy Ath­letic Depart­ment said the school “loved the per­for­mance,” and North Dorch­ester was “the best group we have ever had in.”

“It is unreal to think, as a se­nior, all the dif­fer­ent places we have per­formed,” said cheer team mem­ber Mered­ith Bell. “It is a big honor to per­form here at Navy. We loved per­form­ing at the foot­ball game in the fall, and this is awe­some be­cause we get to do the en­tire show for the bas­ket­ball team.

“It is sad that this is my last year. It has been a great ride with the team. Every­one on the team are very tal­ented and great peo­ple. I’m proud to be on the team with them.”

Join­ing Bell on the cheer squad are Stella Thomas, Bri’ya­nia Chester, Lind­sey Bradley, Kay­ley Bradley, Tay­lor Kairys, Le­mya Reeves, Erin Summy, Cloe Jack­son, Na­jee Grif­fin, Jes­sica Young, Brit­tany Hooper, Jo­ce­lyn Mey­ers, Madi­son Schuyler, Jes­sica Ramey, Han­nah McCol­lis­ter and Jas­mine Lofland. Katie Malkus ser ves as the team’s as­sis­tant coach with Aaron.

Fol­low Caro­line/Dorch­ester Editor Dustin Holt on Twit­ter @ Dustin_S­tarDem.

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