Dance, cheer teams make noise

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The Woodland dance team and the cheerleading squad both thrived this season.

The Hawks put up high numbers at the NVL championships and in state competitions.
The Woodland dance team made its mark in the very first NVL championship, now that dance is recognized as a varsity sport, with a second-place finish.

The Hawks went on to dance their way to third place in the kick line division of the state competition and took fourth in the jazz small division. Hamden won the kick line division posting a team score of 278. Branford won the jazz small division title with a team effort of 275.

For their performance, the Hawks were invited to compete at the New England competition and landed a sixth place showing among some stiff competitors.

It marked the first time Woodland received an invitation to compete at the New England Regionals, said Woodland head coach Marisa DeCola.

“We placed sixth out of the 12 teams in the competition and I couldn’t be prouder of the girls,” she said. “It was the first time that we placed that high in the states and to be rewarded with going to the Regionals for the first time showed that all of their hard work paid off.”

The Hawks were led this season by senior captains Kristen Cullen and Kayla Rafferty. At the NVL championship Cullen, Alyssa Parrella and Casey Rioux were named to the All-NVL team.

“At the states our kick line finished just four points out of second place,” DeCola added. “The fourth-place showing in the jazz was the highest we have ever placed in that division. The girls finished the season with a strong and fierce performance as they gave it their all.”

The Woodland cheerleading squad followed up their sixth place showing at NVLs by finishing eighth among 19 teams in the Class M state competition. The Hawks were led this season by senior captains Rosemary Donnelly, Marinela Gernerowicz and Erika Lugo along with seniors Kayla Caniano, Emily Marticello and Abby Nelson. Sophomore Kayla Macharelli was named to the All-NVL team.

“That is the highest that we’ve placed since I’ve been coaching,” Woodland head coach Leigh Graveline said. “The team worked very hard this season and it paid off. We competed against a lot of tough teams and we held our own. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this team.”

St. Joseph of Trumbull won the Class M state title with 168.7 point. The Hawks scored a 135.9 to finish eighth.

The Naugatuck dance team, led by head coach Donna Gomes, that finished seventh at the NVL championship went on to place eighth in the pom division at states with 190 points. Hamden won the state title in the pom division scoring 277 points.

The Greyhounds were up against some stiff competitors in the hip-hop small division and placed 13th with a team score of 182. Branford won the state title with a score of 272.