MONTVILLE, NJ – Police, fire engines, and ambulances led the triumphant Montville Township High School varsity competition cheer team down Changebridge Road Sunday night from their first-place win at the American Cheer & Dance Academy “Reach for the Beach” competition held Feb. 22 and 23 in Ocean City, MD.

“This was the second year in a row for the team to win this national competition,” Coach Kelsey O’Connor told TAPinto Montville. “Last year the team won the title in the medium division; this year we won against six other teams from the east coast by one point. We added 13 girls this year, so we competed in the large division because now we have 26 girls on the team.”

The team worked almost year-round, O’Connor said.

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“They worked hard from May when we chose the team, then in September when we developed this routine. We have five awesome seniors who were truly our leaders for this awesome season. We couldn’t have done it without them. They really motivated the team and got us to where we needed to be.”

The team that Montville beat had been winning the competition for the past 14 years, O’Connor said.

The group is composed of students in grades nine through 12, so for some girls this was their first national competition, she said. Further, many had never been on a team before.

The team’s two minute and 30-second routine was to a theme of 10 Britney Spears songs, and was choreographed by Star Athletics in Boonton.

See the performance here:

“I knew we had won at the end of the performance because I heard the crowd screaming,” freshman Madison Mastriani said. “We knew what we had to do and we did it. We knew it was our best performance.”

Freshman Gianna Debiasi said, “We had to try a lot harder, with a lot more energy the second day of the competition when we saw the other teams.”

Senior Bianca Hunsinger agreed. “Our first day was a little rough, but our second day we had a lot of energy and we did well – it was a good way to get a national championship. I thought we had a good shot at it because we had prepared and practiced a lot. I was sad that it was one of my last times competing with the team, though.”

Excited parents contacted township leaders and the team bus was met at New Road with an escort into town from Montville Township Police, the Pine Brook Fire Department, and the Montville Township First Aid Squad. Once at the high school, Mayor Frank Cooney, Montville Township Committee members Richard Conklin, Matthew Kayne and June Witty, Montville Township Board of Education President Charles Grau, and Morris County Freeholder and township resident Tom Mastrangelo met the bus to congratulate the team.

See footage of the welcome here:

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