When the Pop Warner season officially began on August 1, everyone involved had high hopes that it was going to be a terrific one. Today, almost four months later, it’s clear that those expectations were right on track.
Players, cheerleaders, families, coaches and board members all enjoyed an incredible season with plenty to be happy about.
“This has been, by far, the most successful season we have had in a decade,” Pop Warner president Deb Smith said.
Of course, the cheer season is still in full gear and two teams, the B team (junior midget) and A team (midget) are heading to Florida next week to compete in the Pop Warner Cheer and Dance Championships taking place at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex.
Already the Regional Champions, the “A” team cheerleaders will be heading to Florida in hopes of earning their third consecutive National title.
“They have worked hard all season to get to this point,” said cheer director Janine Hersom. “Now it’s time for all of their hard work to pay off at Nationals.”
The competition will be especially memorable as longtime A team coach Smith prepares to move down to the D Team level next year.
“I’ve coached the A Team since 1998 and I will miss it,” she said. “But it’s time for me to move down to the D level with my daughter Tiffany.”
While it has become almost expected for the A Team to head to Nationals that isn’t the case with the B Team cheerleaders. Last season, they were eliminated at the Eastern Mass competition. This year, however, is a whole new story as they head to Florida with a regional title to their name.
“That just goes to show you how incredibly hard they have worked this season,” Smith said. “They have seen a lot of competition and are still on their way to Nationals.”
The road isn’t going to get any easier for this tenacious team. When they arrive in Florida they will have 15 teams competing against them for the same title.
“The key to cheer is to keep everything new and refreshing,” said Smith. “That’s what our teams do best.”
As for the football program, it also enjoyed an incredible amount of success in 2012.
Two teams, both B and C level, made it to the playoffs. Two more, A and D1, were competitive throughout the season and were each a single win from reaching the postseason. The E team also boasted a successful record winning six of their eight games.
The B team’s season consisted of a solid seven wins and one loss entering playoffs. The team prevailed in their first two playoff games finally falling to Cambridge in the Eastern Mass Championship game. Without a doubt however, players will remember that game for a long time to come. It took place on November 7 during the first significant snowfall of the season.
The C team took it to an even higher level with an undefeated season as well as an Eastern Mass Championship Title. No small task, this was the first team to earn that title since 2002. The following week they lost a hard fought game but have plenty to look back on and be proud of.
“This was the first Wilmington Pop Warner team to win the Eastern Mass Championship since 2002.” Smith remarked, “That was an absolutely huge accomplishment. The fact that we had two teams in the playoffs competing for the title was just incredible.”
So, what does the future hold for Wilmington Pop Warner? Nothing but success as far as Smith is concerned.
“We continue to grow and get stronger each and every year,” she said. “We have an incredibly strong program from the mitey mites’ level all the way up.”
Wilmington B and A team cheerleaders will be competing in Florida at the Pop Warner Cheer and Dance Championships on Decembers 5 and 7. Check back next week for their results.