Assembly, school board acknowledge No. Smithfield’s title-winning cheerleading team

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – They were the underdogs; a cheerleading squad at home in Division IV, competing against Division II teams, and they came away with the title.

The North Smithfield School Committee joined members of the state General Assembly this month in honoring the North Smithfield High School Cheerleading team for their 2021 achievements.

Led by head coach Alicia Heon, the young squad got their first taste of success in 2020, capturing the Division IV championship despite a season interrupted by a pandemic.

The group was slated to compete in the same division in 2021, but everything, of course, has been different during COVID-19 – including competitive sports. The team, Tek noted, had to move up in divisions because not enough schools were participating last year.

“We moved up – technically two divisions – because we’re a Division IV school,” said Athletic Director Matthew Tek at the school board’s October meeting.

Still, on June 20 at the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s Cheerleading Championships at Providence Career & Technical Academy, the team again took home a title.

“Luckily and fortunately – I’m very encouraged to say that we did defend our state title, so they did go back to back state championships,” Tek said. “We want to acknowledge those athletes right now, tonight, with certificates from [Rep. Brian] Newberry.”

Heon, along with assistant coaches Valerie Orellana and Kelsey Haczynski were on hand to accept the certificates, along with several of the athletes, and Tek listed their names: Eliana Jagiello; Abigail Cunha; Briana Robidoux; Capt. Olivia Cimerol; Lola Mendes; Amelia Jackson; Courtney Toporoski; Cassidy Grives; Grace LaPlante and Emersyn Champagne.

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