Despite their young ages, Jessica Lucich’s Lower Sussex Pop Warner Pee Wee and Junior Pee Wee cheerleading squads already know what it is to give their all. As a first year coach, Lucich has had a lot on her plate as well – but, as she explained, her decision to take the reins as head coach was a choice she made not for herself, but for the girls.
“These girls work really hard,” she said. “They’re out there four days a week, with at least three days of practice and a game.”
The Lower Sussex Pop Warner Pee Wee cheerleading team – comprising girls in local middle and elementary schools – traveled to Trenton, N.J. for the Eastern Regionals this past weekend, after taking first place at the Spirit Competition in Salisbury, Md., back in mid-October. While the girls were unable to advance to the national competition, they still brought their all, proving that having fun can get you so much further.
In the Eastern Regionals, the Pee Wee squad found themselves one of 18 teams vying for top honors, while the Junior Pee Wee team was one of 20.
“We were the little fish in a very big pond,” said assistant head coach Jessica Ruth. “It was still a great learning experience for the girls, and I think they realized how great they did.”
As a mother, Lucich has watched her daughter cheer with the squad for the past three years, but she herself didn’t have much experience to bring to the table.
“We don’t have a lot of volunteers in our region,” she explained, “and unless someone steps up each year, these girls wouldn’t have the opportunity to go out there. I had seen what it takes and watched what they went through.”
With no prior cheerleading experience herself, other than attending practices and competitions, Lucich started studying up.
“I knew they needed a coach, and I wanted to give them that chance. I hit the library and started doing a lot of research. It really comes down to doing it for the girls.”
In Trenton, the Lower Sussex Pee Wees and Junior Pee Wees were the only teams in their division representing the state of Delaware.
“We were up against some impressive teams,” said Lucich. “They were mostly from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Sussex Central and Cape Henlopen had some squads, but they were in different divisions.”
Since her daughter started cheering with the team, the Pee Wee squad had made an impressive run for regionals each year, and Lucich was very proud to be a part of that.
“It’s intense for these girls to get to that level,” she said. “We’re a much smaller squad, and due to the type of housing in this area, there’s not always many to draw from. To make it as far as they did is really something.”
Members of the team come primarily from Lord Baltimore Elementary and Selbyville Middle schools, while others have been drawn from the Southern Delaware School of the Arts and Frankford Elementary.
“We definitely focused on having fun,” she continued. “They’re trying their best, and I think all of the girls enjoyed themselves.”
The squads were set to participate this week in the Selbyville Halloween Parade on Oct. 29, and they will cap off their season with a banquet in January. Lucich, now with a successful year under her belt, plans to head the team again next year. Registration for the 2009 team begins in April. Parents and volunteers are being encouraged to come out and assist the team. Cheerleading sign-ups are on a first-come, first-served basis, so any girls interested should act quickly.
For more information about the team, contact Lucich by e-mail at email@example.com.