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.