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SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield High School (SPHS) Competition Cheerleading Team on Feb. 10 completed its 2019 season undefeated for the first time in its 21-year history.
In addition to taking home first place trophies at all eight competitions, the team also brought home a record three ‘Grand Champ’ trophies. They will next take their elite stunting and tumbling skills to the mat Saturday in the hopes of being named state champs.
“All of their hard work really paid off and I am so proud of each and every one of them. They really had a tremendous season,” said Jaime Giannakis, a SPHS guidance counselor who was appointed the team's head coach last summer.
The SPHS Competition Cheer Team is comprised of fifteen students in 9th through 12th grade. Tryouts are held at the end of June with practices for the upcoming season typically beginning as early as July. Despite a rocky start to the 2019 season that included a delayed summer practice schedule combined with season injuries, the team, which is led by Giannakis and Assistant Coach Erin Klimchak, went on to take first place at each of the eight competitions. They were also named ‘Grand Champs’ at the Montville High School Cheer Challenge as well as at competitions held at David Brearly and Wood-Ridge high schools.
“Although our season got off to a late start everyone pulled through. All of the girls put in a so many long hours at practices and each and everyone gave their all each time they took the mat,” said Giannakis, who herself attended SPHS and was a member of the competition cheer team. “This has been an amazing team and an amazing experience. I am just so proud of all of them.”
This Saturday, the South Plainfield Competition Cheer Team will head to the New Jersey Cheerleading & Dance Association (NJCDCA) State Champions being held in Trenton. There, they will compete against eight other schools in the 'Medium Cheer Dance Division' and have also qualified for a chance to garner the 'Group 2' title. SPHS is set to hit the mat at the Cure Insurance Arena at 3:56 p.m.
“I know they are going to bring their all to the mat on Saturday and I have the outmost confidence in them,” said Giannakis. “No matter what happens this weekend, I am extremely proud of all of them and the season we have had, and am so proud to be their coach.”
The 2019 South Plainfield Competitive Cheer Team includes senior co-Captains Rebecca Bloch and Brianna Slover along with fellow senior Brianna Crenshaw, juniors Zoe Lambert, Danielle McParland, Brianna Padovano, Mackenzie Surowiec, and Alicia Vazquez; sophomores Jennifer Giannakis and Katelyn Luster; and freshmen Xenia Lambert, Jenna Slover, Isabella Saffold, Alyssa Vella, and Angelique Weaver.
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