Wilton cheer squads sweep New England Open Championship titles

Wilton had a lot to cheer about last Saturday, as both Wilton competition cheerleading squads brought home the championship titles in their divisions at the New England Cheerleading Association Cheer Open Championship held in East Haven.

In a late-afternoon session, in which more than 25 high school teams from all over the state competed, the Wilton High varsity squad placed first in the very competitive Advanced Large Varsity Team division. The win marks a big victory in a season where the young team just keeps getting better and better.

The 24 girl squad has 14 sophomores and two freshmen, a roster more typical of JV teams in other schools. Yet the tenacious Wilton varsity squad, led by seven strong seniors and veteran juniors, placed eighth at the FCIAC championships on Feb. 2 , the highest WHS has placed in years. Senior captain Emile Ricco earned individual All-FCIAC honors.

The team next placed fifth to make it to the podium at the Quinnipiac University Cheer Competition on Feb. 16 and an individual stunt group placed fourth to medal.

The NECA first-place finish followed, putting the squad in good position to complete its competition season at the CIAC high school cheerleading championships this Friday.

The Wilton Warrior Junior middle school competition squad, which is part of the Wilton Youth Football program, capped off its 2013 season with its own spectacular first-place finish on Saturday in the morning session at NECA.

The squad, comprised of sixth, seventh and eighth graders, placed first in its division, regaining Wilton’s hold on the junior high division title which it held in 2010 and 2011.

The sport of competition cheerleading, with its components of cheer, dance, tumbling, jumps and stunting, requires athleticism, grace, strength, agility and teamwork, and it continues to grow in popularity and success in Wilton.

With these two squads thrilling the packed gym with their performances in East Haven and bringing home the division championships, which include team bids to compete in a national championship and at the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl in Honolulu, that will no doubt continue.

The Wilton High varsity squad is led by head coach Ashley Bonora and assistant coach Kelcie Wehmoff, starting strong in their initial season with the Warriors.

The Wilton Warrior Juniors were coached by Marika Le Fevre, Jeri Tait, Becky Pendergast and Renee Morris.