There was drama surrounding the Division I place finishes at the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association State Spirit Championships at Pinkerton Academy this past Sunday, March 11. But for the Londonderry High Lady Lancers, the drama didn’t really creep in until after the D-I champs and runners-up had been named.
Coach Chelsie Murfitt’s LHS squad placed third in the tough division at that event with a somewhat-flawed but extremely spirited performance which earned the Lancers a final score of 98.2. The defending state champion Pinkerton Astros – who were seeking their ninth consecutive winter title – were somewhat stunned by falling short of that goal and finishing second with a 102.4, while the Concord Crimson Tide bagged the D-I crown with its score of 104.4.
Londonderry’s post-event drama came into being when coach Murfitt and her charges learned that they’d need to wait a bit to see if they’d qualify for the New England Championships at Southern New Hampshire University this weekend. Point tallies were slated to determine which Granite State squad would be the third to advance along with Concord and Pinkerton.
Be that as it was, Murfitt and her assistants were largely pleased with the work their squad did in front of a loud, standing-room-only crowd in Pinkerton’s Hackler Gym. Those environs and circumstances have been known to unnerve even the most confident athletes and contingents.
“They increased their energy from past performances,” said the coach. “It wasn’t perfect, but hopefully we’ll get another chance to improve on it at New Englands.”
Murfitt’s Londonderry High fall spirit squad managed an incredible feat late last year when it ended the Pinkerton fall team’s seven-year run of state titles by edging that entity by a tiny, 103-102.6 margin.
While the margin of victory for Concord in ending Pinkerton’s huge winter streak of crowns this past Sunday was a tad larger, just about nobody in the Hackler Gym clearly saw it coming.
“”We didn’t know who the winner was going to be before it was announced,” said Murfitt. “I think all of the Division I teams had issues today except Concord. Their routine was the cleanest.”
The Londonderry squad included seniors Cassandra Stuart, Hannah Martin, Jessica Brien, Katherine Host, Kathryn Hempfield, Kaylie Longua, Meghan Evangelista, and Sara Berte. The juniors were Katelyn Leger and Sarah Duarte, while the sophomores included Arianna Squeglia, Ava MacEachern, Brianna Meskell, Megan McHugh, and Samantha McCarthy, and the freshmen were Alana Mobbs, Lillian Tharrington, Nikki Longua, and Reyanna Broadhurst.