It will be a year to be remembered in Tri-County history as the Cougars rewrote the history books. The squad won all four of the Invitationals that they participated in; grabbed a second place finish in the Mayflower League Tournament; won the Division 3 South Championship; finished third in the States and fourth in the New England Regionals. This run wasn’t by either of the Cougars basketball teams or its hockey team; it belongs to Coach Lindsay Melanson’s Cheerleading squad.
The 16 girls, who primarily were cheering for the varsity boy’s basketball team, not only had a phenomenal run, but provided its fans with some impressive facts along the way. At the Milford Invitation, Tri-County posted the highest score of any team at the event, no matter what division. The Cougars had a couple of hiccups in the League Championship and was eventually edged out by Bristol Plymouth for the title and despite finishing fourth in the New England Regional Tournament the Cougars were the best Massachusetts team as Rhode Island and Connecticut took the top three spots.
“This is the first time in Tri-County history that we won the regionals (Division 3 South),” Coach Melanson said. “It’s the highest we’ve ever finished in the states and the first time that a team has ever made it to the New England’s. Needless to say, I’m very proud of this team.”
The two-and-a-half minute routine was choreographed by Worcester’s Alison Kiely after Melanson gave her some ideas. It was then up to Melanson and her assistant, Erin Weeman (Tri-County’s Coach from 2004-10 who returned this winter as an assistant), to put things in motion and get the girls all on the same page.
“The thing with cheerleading is that everyone has to work together as a team on everything from pyramids to stunts, there is no one particular star like other sports,” the first year coach said.
Prior to meeting with Kiely to come up with the routines dance moves, Melanson had to meet with all the girls in the squad to find out their skills and work around them. The squad then used the basketball halftime to practice their routine in front of a crowd, and although the coach thought that she had talent, she never expected to do what the Cougars did this past winter.
“Being a first year coach with her first ever varsity coaching position, I never figured we’d do what we did,” Melanson said. “I did have a good group of girls that worked extremely hard and knowing that the fall team put forth a good effort, I knew that we had potential if they continued to work hard.”
Having seen what the girls performed in the fall season, Melanson knew there was potential, and if she could pull them together, they could go further than they ever had. She never imagined that the squad would rewrite the Tri-County Cheerleading history books.
“I am so impressed with this group of girls as they just kept moving forward,” the coach said. “The bigger the crowd got, the more excited the team was, and with that, they seemed to perform better.”
The Tri-County team included Josilyn Carlson, Maddie Kaplan, Brenna Blye and Natalie Berganza from Attleboro; Ronelle Erickson from Plainville; Alexa Crugnae, Emily Spillane, Courtney Quaranto and Delaney Forbes from Franklin; Jamie Lonzack from Seekonk; Jaycie Jordan, Grace Lonzo, Breanna Goulette and Stephanie Brousseau from North Attleboro; Brianna Harper from Walpole and Sydney Berry from Bellingham.