In the first-ever WPIAL competition for cheerleading, Pine-Richland placed first for AAA schools.
PR took the championship title home Saturday from the WPIAL competition at North Hills Junior High Annex.
"We have competed nationally in Orlando, FL, for the last six years and have placed in the top 10 each year," said head coach Danielle Hitson.
"But what made this (the WPIAL championship) the best win of all is that we competed against our peer schools—North Allegheny, Shaler, Butler, Franklin Regional, North Hills ...," Hitson said.
"The rivalry is the same as it is in football and basketball. I know many of the coaches and all of our teams practice so hard while juggling cheering for school teams, working and homework," said Hitson.
The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association made Girls Competitive Spirit a championship sport starting in the 2012-13 school year.
PR will compete next at the state level on Saturday, Feb. 2, in Hershey at the Giant Center. The team then travels to Orlando, FL, for a national competition from Feb. 7 to 11.
"I have a very talented group of girls who are extremely competitive and driven as well as a supportive parent organization who back me in every way possible," Hitson said. "I have been coaching on and off since 1992 and it is very rewarding to finally see the WPIAL and PIAA recognize cheerleading as sport!" said Hitson.
Team members and coaches are:
Jenna Craig, Captain
Kasey Elkin, Captain
Mary Kate Drury
Danielle Hitson, Head Coach
Daniella Derenzo, Assistant Coach
Rachle Doran, JV Coach
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