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Kaycee Belanger gets a lift from her SHS teammates at the Class LL competition in New Haven. | (Matt Leidemer / Special to The Citizen)

SHS cheerleaders settle for fifth in Class LL

NEW HAVEN – The 2014 CIAC cheerleading season wrapped up this past weekend at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven, and several local squads ended the year on a high note.

The Southington Blue Knights placed fifth in a very competitive Class LL division. It was the Knights’ first time back in an all-girl division in three years. In 2012 and 2013, Southington competed in the co-ed division.

Two-time defending co-ed champion Shelton was bested by Danbury this time around. It marked the Hatters’ first championship since 2011.

Newtown placed third in LL.

Although the Blue Knights missed out on a chance to return to regionals, Southington coach Heather Allenback was very happy with her team’s results Saturday night.

“This was a very hard division this year, it is extremely difficult,” Allenback said. “I knew we were coming into a tough division and I wanted us to do well against these other traditionally really good all-girl teams. And we did. We got fifth place and were very close to fourth, not far off.”

Allenback also praised her senior class, having been on the first Southington team to go to regionals last year in the co-ed division, as well as being the first conference grand champions and the highest-placing all-girl team in school history this year.

“It’s been a special year,” Allenback said. “Most of the team is seniors and they’ve been together since middle school and cheering together since middle school, so to have those seniors really step it up and have the year they did was really remarkable. It was wonderful, it was absolutely phenomenal. This is a history-making team. This is a tremendous accomplishment and I hope they’re proud of it, and I think they are.”

In other state championship action, Plainville followed up its second straight CCC South Division championship with a second-place finish Saturday morning, tying the best result in school history. The Blue Devils were Class M runners-up in 1992 and Class S runners-up in 2000.

St. Joseph’s-Trumbull won Class M, improving on last year’s runner-up performance. Northeast powerhouse and defending Class M champion Wolcott settled for bronze.

The Berlin Redcoats placed third at the Class L championship Friday night. It is the second time in four years the Redcoats medaled at the event. They also placed third in 2011.

Class L was won by Masuk-Monroe, with Watertown placing second.

In the other divisions, Seymour won Class S, followed by Derby and Notre Dame-Fairfield. Stamford won the co-ed division, with Staples-Westport finishing second and Fitch-Groton placing third.

Two local cheerleaders were selected to their respective All-State teams: Plainville junior Isabella Donahue and Southington senior Rylee Gothberg.

Plainville and Berlin are eligible to compete in the New England Cheerleading Championships, slated for Saturday, March 22, at Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Mass. The top three teams in each class qualify for the event.



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