Mt. Hope cheerleaders returns to competition scene

By Ethan Hartley
Posted 3/14/24

After a five-year hiatus, cheering is back in a big way at Mt. Hope High School.

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Mt. Hope cheerleaders returns to competition scene


After a five-year hiatus, cheering is back in a big way at Mt. Hope High School.

On Feb. 24, the Mt. Hope hosted an invitational cheerleading competition, drawing six middle schools and 12 high schools throughout the state. Over the weekend, the team competed in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s state championships at the Providence Career & Technical Academy, facing off against the top competition throughout the state.

The team is now coached by Samantha Golden and Jessica Cerce, both former Huskies cheerleaders prior to their graduation in 2016 who competed under the late Debby Marshall, who passed away this past November.

At the invitational event, one cheerleader from each team was nominated for the “Heart of the Husky” award, which was bestowed in honor of the late Marshall and “went to a cheerleader that is best described as the #1 hype girl, biggest supporter, someone who embodies a positive uplifting attitude and demonstrates the true spirit of a cheerleader,” explained Golden. Olivia Vetri from Ponageanset Middle School took home the honor.

Golden said on Tuesday that getting the team back together and competing again was an exciting development.

“Although we did not win or place at any invitationals or states this year, Jess and I are extremely proud of ourselves and the team for all the hard work, improvement and dedication that was put into this season,” she said. “We are both looking forward to coming back better next year based on everything we learned from year one.”

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.