How a peanut and a ladybug helped Narragansett Regional cheer earn a bid at Nationals (2024)

How a peanut and a ladybug helped Narragansett Regional cheer earn a bid at Nationals (1)

What do ladybugs, a stuffed peanut and loud music have in common?

Each is essential to the Narragansett Regional cheer team's ritual for a good performance. All three must have been present all season long, as the team is off to Nationals after a successful winter competition season.

A challenging fall season led the Warriors to put in a great deal of work to prepare for the winter. The team welcomed a large group of freshmen, so creating a bond was difficult at first.

The unfamiliarity with one another paired with a routine that just didn't click caused them to fall short of the team's personal expectations. After some disappointment in the fall, the team revamped their routine and grew closer, resulting in success for the winter.

"We've done a lot of team bonding because we had upperclassmen and then we had the freshmen, so we had to learn how to be together as a team," Narragansett cheer coach Megan Hazelton said. "They really are now. We eat together, sleep together, in the gym constantly -- we are a family at this point. I spend more time with them than I do my own family."

How a peanut and a ladybug helped Narragansett Regional cheer earn a bid at Nationals (2)

In the winter, Narragansett cheer began to rack up the titles. That started with the Mid-Wach Div. 4 championship, a top five spit in the State Championships and a fourth place in the New England Regional Championship.

Their scores qualified them for the Eastern National High School Cheerleading Championships in Hershey Pennsylvania, on April 19.

"We started winning everything, scoring above an 80 -- that's how you actually qualify, so even though we didn't place in the state we were still good enough to go to Nationals. We're going back to Hershey," Hazelton said.

The biggest challenge now leading up to Nationals is raising the money to get there.

"We have to raise $10,000 to help pay for the bus to get down there so we have a lot of fundraisers. Spaghetti supper, we're going to be doing a kids' camp, super raffle and just help from the community to help get down there," Hazelton said.

Senior leadership

Madison Philbin, Ava Lyskawa, Jillian O'Malley and Kasey Lovewell are the team's four competing seniors who had a big role in helping to mesh the young team together. Another senior, Gabby Warren, is an alternate and contributes support to the team during competitions.

The four seniors had to work hard to create a winning culture again, but pulled inspiration from past team members who set the tone for them when they were underclassmen.

This group seniors ended around a 15-year drought of going to Nationals when they've joined the team. They've continued that trend of excellence with three consecutive trips to the grand stage.

"Going to Nationals is all we know," said Lyskawa, who joined, along with Philbin, her sophom*ore year.

O'Malley and Lovewell have both been apart of the team since middle school and experienced the growth the program has gone through.

"It's definitely been a giant family growing, especially this team I feel like I have a really big attachment to this team. This program has grown insanely over the past years," Lovewell said.

From playing music pre-practice, chatting about their day at school, to hyping each other up and cracking jokes to keep the mood light, the team has a routine that helps them get in the right mindset to practice or perform their best. Among this routine has included superstitions.

Sticking to superstitions

Like many sports teams and athletes, the Narragansett Regional cheer team relies on superstitions to get them in the right mindset to perform and compete. A longstanding tradition the Warriors have is the symbol of ladybugs. Ladybugs are often a token of good luck and Hazelton has used the insect mascot for many years.

How a peanut and a ladybug helped Narragansett Regional cheer earn a bid at Nationals (3)

On the back of the team bows is a little red outline of a ladybug, and they use ladybug balloons and decor when gearing up for a competition.

"She (Hazelton) has a ladybug stamp that she always puts on our left hand because it's closest to our heart," Lovewell said.

A more newly added superstition is the presence of a little stuffed peanut. The team's main flyer, Kailyn Massicotte, was given the nickname "Peanut" when she first joined the team as a middle schooler.

More:'He has a great personality': Meet the Gardner News' Hockey Player of the Year

"When she joined, she was the smallest little eighth grader I've ever seen," Lovewell laughed.

The stuffed peanut is clipped to Massicotte's bag and travels everywhere with them. It has even grown throughout the years with the team, gaining an outfit of pom-poms and a bow, as well as its own ladybug embellishment on the back. During competitions, Peanut can be seen held high in the air by the coaches as the Warriors give it their all on the stage.

How a peanut and a ladybug helped Narragansett Regional cheer earn a bid at Nationals (4)

With Nationals coming up, the Warriors will be performing on the biggest stage of the year against the best teams across the country. The girls' goal, though, is not simply to do the best they can, but to make those who have helped them along the way proud.

More:Taking a charge: Nick Whitelaw's selfless attitude serves the Quabbin community

"We want to make all the people who support us proud. All of our parents, our coaches, the boosters, people who donated, alumni," Lyskawa said.

"And the school superintendent (Chris Casavant) who comes to almost every competition to support us!" O'Malley added enthusiastically.

Until Nationals, the team will continue to perfect their routine, counting on the encouragement of one another to work hard. With a little luck from a ladybug and the accompaniment of Peanut, this team has what it takes.

How a peanut and a ladybug helped Narragansett Regional cheer earn a bid at Nationals (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jerrold Considine

Last Updated:

Views: 5501

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jerrold Considine

Birthday: 1993-11-03

Address: Suite 447 3463 Marybelle Circles, New Marlin, AL 20765

Phone: +5816749283868

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Air sports, Sand art, Electronics, LARPing, Baseball, Book restoration, Puzzles

Introduction: My name is Jerrold Considine, I am a combative, cheerful, encouraging, happy, enthusiastic, funny, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.