When the Pinkerton Academy fall spirit squad won its sixth consecutive Division I championship back in 2015 by edging the Dover High contingent by mere percentage points – 103-102.7 – folks in the New Hampshire spirit community had to be wondering if anybody would ever be able to knock the Lady Astros off of the their lofty title-winning perch.
Well, the 2017 Londonderry High spirit squad managed to do just that in the Pinkerton crew’s home gymnasium this past Sunday, Nov. 5, narrowly finishing ahead of the runner-up academy crew and ending the Lady Astros’ epic run of seven consecutive fall championships.
The new state champs tallied a winning score of 103 to just outdistance Pinkerton and its mark of 102.6. Dover was third (99.8) and Concord finished fourth (99.2).
“We are so proud of our athletes for their performance this season,” said coach Chelsea Dennis. “The passion within each of them, paired with their hard work and perseverance, brought us to the top today. This team, this family, made our dream to become state champions a reality.”
The Lady Lancers’ accomplishment will, of course, create ripples through the New Hampshire spirit community and perhaps beyond, and locally it means plenty because Londonderry High and Pinkerton are arch-rivals in athletics.
The title-winning Londonderry troop is led by head coach Chelsea Dennis and includes seniors Jessica Brien, Meghan Evangelista, Kathryn Hempfield, Erin Kelly, Victoria Kelly, Kaylie Longua, Hannah Martin, Taylor Mellinger, Alexandria Nadeau, Ally Rose, Sara Berte, Katie Host, and Cassie Stuart. Evangelista, Longua, Martin, and Stuart are the captains.
The juniors are Kathryn Hughes and Katelyn Leger, the sophomores include Emma Gehris, Ashley Greenwood, and Samantha McCarthy, and the freshmen are Nikki Longua, Alana Mobbs, Alyssa Pitarys, and Lillian Tharrington.
The 2016 Lady Lancer spirit squad finished an extremely close third behind Pinkerton and Dover last November, with the host PA contingent scoring a 105.3 to win a seventh straight crown, Dover taking runner-up honors with a 100, and Londonderry right on the Green Wave’s heels with a 99.7. So the dedicated folks within the LHS program have seen the Lady Lancers edging their way up on the incredibly tough competition, with payday having come this past Sunday.
There is no regional Spirit championship event for the fall season, but there will be one following the winter campaign in mid-March.