SPOTSWOOD, NJ - After losing nine members of the Spotswood High School varsity cheerleading squad to graduation, longtime head coach Colleen Meyers thought the upcoming fall cheer season might be a rebuilding one for the defending Greater Middlesex Conference Performance champs. The 25 year cheerleading coaching veteran and Spotswood High School World History, Psychology and Sociology teacher was pleasantly surprised to learn that would not be the case.

"With the loss of nine key seniors to graduation who all exhibited excellent examples of leadership, we thought this may a year where skills would take a little longer to acquire," Meyers explained. "We were wrong!  The girls had a strong preseason getting ready and an excellent UCA camp experience in late August."

The Chargers lost four-year varsity cheerleaders Angelina, Gabriella and Jovanna Alves to graduation. The triplets graduated last June and are all cheering at Penn State. Despite losing the Alves triplets to the collegiate sidelines, Meyer's varsity squad has a strong core of senior and junior varsity cheerleaders returing this season.

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Seniors Aly Griggs, Gabrielle Dellaglio, Alexa Hologounis, Victoria McGrath, Danielle Moran, KiKi Neves, Morgan Taylor are returning along with juniors Samantha Martinez, Thalia Rivas, Danielle Cann, Keira White and Valentina Saracino. The acccomplished and skilled core gives Meyers a seasoned group of cheerleaders with varsity experience. Neves is currently being recruited to take her cheerleading skills to the collegiate level.

Joining the returning varsity members are a group of hardworking, talented cheerleaders including seniors Kayla Dekovics and Amya Coleman, sophomores Allie Forsell, Amy Bacchetti, Gabriella Palfey, Mya Rogando-Lynch, Avery Simpson, Shannon Snook and freshman Megan Perpente.

Meyers taps the 2019 Chargers squad's ability to learn cheer chants, choreography and elite stunting skills easily as a huge strength for this year's team as they defend their GMC Performance title. Last fall, the 2018 squad  took home the Red Division title for 17-and-over Performance at the Greater Middlesex Conference Cheerleading Championships in Woodbridge. During camp this summer, the Chargers were voted the most spirited each day and took second place for their rally routine in the Varsity Elite category.

Six members of the team earned the status of All-American Cheerleader including Hologounis, Nieves, Simpson, Rogando and Perpente. Nieves, Taylor, Hologounis and Dellaglio will serve as captains for the varsity squad this season. Taylor, Hologounis and Nieves are all four-year members of the Chargers varsity cheerleading squad.

The 2019 Spotswood High School varsity cheerleading squad will be on the sidelines on Saturday when the Chargers take on Hillside High School at 1 p.m. at the Spotswood High School Stadium. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.