ORLANDO, FL - Watchung Hills Wolverines Junior Pee Wee and Junior Midget Teams both took first place in their respective divisions at the Pop Warner National Cheer & Dance Competition this year.
 
The week of December 8-13, both competitive cheer teams from Watchung Hills Pop Warner headed down to Orlando, FL to compete in the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Competition.  The competition was held at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Junior Pee Wee team performed on Monday, December 8 and the Junior Midgets took the mats on Wednesday, December 10.  Both teams had five other competitors against them.  The girls performed beautifully, with precision and great technique and both nabbed the first place trophy.
 
 
In addition, the Junior Pee Wee team received an award for the highest score on their jumps amongst all of the other 93 teams in the Junior Pee Wee division.  This is an incredible feat. The team also was awarded a ribbon for being one of the top three teams with best spirit of the Junior Pee Wee teams. 
 
In order to qualify to compete at Nationals, both teams had to compete and win at the local level competition for the league, Jersey Valley Conference.  This competition took place on October 19 at the Sun Bank Arena in Trenton, NJ.  Both teams took first place and moved onto the next competition, NJ State. This competition was held on November 2 at the Sun Bank Arena.  Again, both cheerleading squads were awarded first place trophies. From there, the two squads advanced to their Regional Competition against other Pop Warner teams from Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. The Junior Midgets’ Regional was held on November 8 at the Sun Bank Arena.  The JRM Wolverines took first place once again. The Junior Pee Wees’ Regional was held on November 15 at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY.  The JPW Wolverines took first runner up and qualified to attend Nationals.

 
For the cheerleaders, the road to Disney was filled with weeks of practice, conditioning, and team building skills.  All 52 girls trained for countless hours, modifying their routines after each competition in order to continuously improve.  The athletes never stopped working hard to achieve their goal of making it to Nationals.  Once they arrived in Disney, they set their sites on first place and they were able to make all of their dreams come true.  The coaches and parents are all incredibly proud of our athletes!  The Wolverines have only made it to Disney two other times (2011 and 2012), but they have never taken first place.  The girls made history for our organization to have not only one, but two National Champion teams. 
 
Our Junior Pee Wee coaching staff includes Head Coach Suzie Aschoff and Assistant Coaches Alyson Angelini, Lisa Checchio, Nicole Mistichelli, Noelle Mortillo, and Heather Saum, with Team Moms Dina Grochowski and Liz Papazian.  The cheerleaders are local third through fifth graders and include Carly Allgor, Alexandria Angelini, Maddie Archbold, Hannah Aschoff, Lianna Bartnick, Maddie Butler, Matison Cann, Rayannah Cardoza, Olivia Checchio, Chrissy Delli Santi, Mia Edwards, Emma Grochowski, Olivia Grochowski, Kate Howell, Brooke Messarosh, Dena Mistichelli, Gina Mortillo, Kayla Palaia, Nicole Palumbo, Maddy Papazian, Ashley Patetta, Sienna Prinzivalli, Valerie Ramos, Megan Saum, and Jaqui Stultz.
 
The Junior Midget coaching staff is lead by Head Coach Denise DePekary and Assistant Coaches Gerri Fiacco, Nicole Mistichelli, Stephanie Pfeiffer, Kellie Sahler, and Andrea Tomporowski, with Team Mom Michelle Messarosh.  The team consists of local sixth through eighth graders including Amanda Aschoff, Honey Baskin-Islami, Haley Burton, Gillian Butler, Jordan Cann, Paige Cann, Susannah Cardoza, Kelsey Carlucci, Makenna Decker, Eden DePekary, Micah Edwards, Gina Fiacco, Ashley Johnson, Sophie Marsillo, Kendyl Messarosh, Hunter Miller, Nicole Miranda, Alexa Mistichelli, Mia Papazian, Brooke Pfeiffer, Ayla Prinzivalli, Andréa Rica, Lauren Richmond, Kaitlyn Roth, Emily Sahler, Kelly Saum, and Margo Stefurak.  
 
After earning their tickets to the national competitions, the teams had a short time to prepare and raise monies to help off-set the travel and lodging expenses.  The Watchung Hills Pop Warner organization was overwhelmed by the support from the community.  Andy Marion said," the support we received from families, local business and anonymous donors was amazing.  We could not have taken on this trip without their assistance and we are very thankful for their generosity.”  
 
The 2014 Jr. PeeWee Wolverines will now celebrate their amazing season at the programs year-end banquet on Sunday, January 11 at the Stone House at Stirling Ridge in Warren. Tickets can be purchased on-line at www.WHPW.org.
 
The program will open up its 2015 registration shortly after the start of the new year and welcomes all boys and girls to join its football and cheer teams who are between the ages of  5 and 15.  For more information, please visit the Watchung Hills Pop Warner website at www. WHPW.org.