CEDAR GROVE, NJ - She has proven herself as a team player, a strong leader and a dedicated athlete. She has also helped her team prove its high-flying skills in competition, which is why Remi Dente is this week’s TAP into Verona/Cedar Grove’s Panther Athlete of the Week.

“It feels great to be Athlete of the Week,” Dente said. “Usually cheerleading isn't acknowledged as much as other sports at CGHS so I think it is great a cheerleader was chosen and I'm honored that it's me.”

The high school senior has been cheering for six years and has been a key component in the team’s winning record. The Panther cheerleaders have entered four competitions so far this season and have taken home second place twice and first place twice in the medium varsity division, which is one of the biggest high school divisions in the state.

Sign Up for E-News

“So far our season is going great and it's hard to believe it's already halfway over,” Dente said. “We've won two first places and two second places which is pretty great, considering we go out and give it our all every time we take the mat. To us, hitting the routine and being better than we were the week before means more to us than the trophy.”

Although Dente said the Lady Panther cheerleaders were disappointed to come in second place in their first competition, they worked hard to improve their performance and were even stronger in their second competition. The 15 cheerleaders also nailed their routine in their latest competition, Dente added, even after adding difficulty.

The girls’ winning record is a reflection of the effort they put in at practices – practices that Coach Alyssa Calixto said can be challenging.

“Our girls continue to push hard through every practice. Not all of them are easy, but the work is worth it for these 15 athletes,” Calixto said. “They are a performing team and always do their best to work their way to the top.”

As for Dente, Calixto said the well-rounded athlete is the “total package,” and brings both dedication and positive leadership to the team.

“Remi takes ownership of the team, their successes and challenges, all while balancing her academics and preparing for her transition to college,” Calixto added. “She is a true pleasure, and with her dedication and determination to her team, she will continue to lead them to the top.”

Dente hopes to be a good captain and great role model for her fellow teammates, she said, and hopes that the team will come out on top at nationals in Atlantic City and continue to do their best for the rest of the season.

To achieve those goals, Dente recognizes the importance of teamwork.

“Each of the 15 athletes work as a unit and one person's performance affects the other 14 girls,” Dente said. “Having the trust in each other and counting on each other each time we compete is a unique feeling that I feel is stronger than in any other sport.”

Editor's Note: The "Athlete of the Week" is a weekly reoccurring feature story that highlights an individual student-athlete's success. The Verona High School Athlete of the Week is selected with the assistance of the school's athletic director and coaching staff.

To obtain local news and events faster, download the new TAPinto for iPhone or Android free in the Google Play Store and the Apple Store by searching for “tapinto” or “tapinto.net.