Reading Pop Warner Junior Pee Wee cheerleading coach Pam Barcroft is the first to admit that winning the national championship may have seemed like an unrealistic goal to set as the team arrived at Disney World this weekend.
But hopefully someone on the team can clear some space in their luggage for the trophy the team will be bringing back to Massachusetts with them. Because for Reading’s cheerleaders, dreams do come true.
“When we arrived in Florida, we were just happy to be in Disney World,” said Barcroft. “The girls had a blast hitting the theme parks. Then the day came to practice at Disney’s ESPN complex and it hit us. We are here for our national competition title.”
On Monday morning, the team competed against 15 teams from across the country, besting each one as they took home the crown. The Milford, Conn., Eagles came closest to clipping Reading, as they earned second place. It was Milford who earned first place at regionals on November 9 while Reading came in second.
Monday was a historic day for the Reading Pop Warner program. In addition to the cheerleading win, the town snagged a football victory in the national semifinal. As a result, Reading will play Thursday in hopes of bringing home another national title.
Reading’s championship cheerleading team is made up of Ashley Barcroft, Madison Battaglia, Julia Bonacci, Lauren Ciccariello, Kiki Gohr, Leah Holmes, Kristin Leyne, Abby May, Lily Raneri, Ellen Tango, Olivia Torello, and Natalie Wilson.
In addition, Barcroft and fellow coach Jennifer May said the title would not be possible without student demonstrators Jenna Cooper, a senior, and Samantha Broussard, a sophomore. The high school students helped create what Barcroft called a “dynamic routine.”
“We have a great group of girls and families,” said May. “The parents have been extremely supportive throughout the whole journey from our first competition. Without the support of the parents, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”