Cheering for Westmoreland; the Pop Warner cheerleaders are ready to take on New Jersey
“Westmoreland is a small town and a lot of people don’t know where we are,” Jordan Flint a cheerleader in the sixth grade told me last Friday. She is determined, however, to change that for the better.
Their Pop Warner Cheer team has just taken second place at the Tri-Valley Competition and now they are headed out of state for the next level of competition. On Friday they had a “boot drive” on the corner of Main Street and Stop 7 Road in order to raise money to get there.
“We’ve been working hard all season,” Flint said. “Two weeks prior to this we were practicing three of four days a week. Now we are getting ready to compete in New Jersey.”
Alyza Archer who is in the eighth grade echoed her friend Jordan’s sentiments.
“Not many teams from Westmoreland go to compete in a different state,” Archer said. “We all like taking the Westmoreland name out there. We worked really hard for this.”
Alyza’s mom Kristen, was with her daughters raising money. She also has a younger daughter Adyson (fifth grade) who is a Pop Warner cheerleader.
“It’s important for the community to support this,” Kristen Archer said. “It’s about self-confidence and team building.”
They had a proud grandmother supporting them as well.
Cheryl Nestved is grandmother to my niece Molly who is one of the cheerleaders heading to the competition. She talked about the importance of teamwork and setting goals.
“It shows that you can work together to achieve anything in life,” Nestved said. “It’s athletic, it’s a sport and it builds strong bodies.”
“And they’re winning!” Patrick Cardillo added.
Cardillo who works for the school district as a computer specialist and ran the town’s summer youth program stopped by to support the girls.
“It is a great sport,” he said. “They are out there at football games. They do such a good job. It’s good to see them get attention for what they do.”
“They’ve worked so hard this year,” Shelly Misiak said. “They’re out busting their butts every night.”
Misiak’s seventh grade daughter, Lauren Jones agreed.
“The competition is hard. It’s cool and it’s fun, but it’s hard, and there will be a lot of teams in our division.”
As the girls cheered, cars honked their horns, and several stopped to put money in the boots. They have other fundraisers you can read about them online at: www.facebook.com/WestmorelandPopWarner.
“The fact that we’re going to New Jersey is pretty big for a small community,” Lauren Jones said between cheers. “We’re glad people are helping us so that we can go.”
“People are saying good job and good luck,” Misiak said.
Licia Ortiz is a “team mom” and a mom to two squad members, eighth grade Samantha Gleason and seventh grade Olivia Moore.
“This is a reward for them,” Ortiz said. “They have worked really hard from the beginning of August and now it’s the beginning of November and they are still at it.”
“We’re carrying the Westmoreland name to New Jersey,” Ortiz’s daughter, Samantha Gleason said.
The team also includes participants from Clinton, like Kelsey Smith.
“I’ve done this since I was five. It’s nice to meet people from Westmoreland.” She said that she believes she will be friends with some of her teammates forever.
Cars came to a stop at the four corners, people rolled down their windows to pitch in and wish the team well.
“Look at them over there,” Jordan’s father, Mike Flint said gesturing to the Pop Warner cheerleaders hard at work practicing their routines while the moms and dads collected the donations from cars. “That’s camaraderie. It’s great to see kids working together like that.”