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Mepham Pirettes win first national championship


The Wellington C. Mepham varsity kickline team won its first national championship in program history on March 8 at the World Disney World Resort in Florida.

The Pirettes earned a score of 95.03 in the Large Varsity Kick Category after competing against seven of the best teams in the country in finals.

The team also received the Superior Showmanship Award for the performance. The last time the team competed in Kick was in 2013 and the last time they made finals in the Kick category at nationals was 2011.

“The closest placement the team has had to first was a second-place finish in the Small Varsity Jazz category in 2012,” said coach Kerry Dennis.

In addition, their other three routines made it into finals, with their Pom routine finishing in sixth place and their Team Performance routine earning an NDA Unleashed Award and a third-place finish. Their jazz performance finished in finals 26th out of 46. The team also earned the high honor of the NDA Sportsmanship Award.

“The award is presented to one team at the competition and is voted on by the staff. It acknowledges athlete, coach and fan behavior throughout the weekend,” added Dennis.

The team returned home from Nationals on Monday, March 9 — the same day that the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District began cancelling school trips due to the growing Covid-19 pandemic.

“The team is so appreciative that they had the opportunity to go to Nationals and represent both Mepham and Bellmore-Merrick on the national level,” said Dennis. “They did an unbelievable job this season, when they went down to Orlando to win their first championship ever.  Although schools closed the week after they returned, they look forward to celebrating an incredible season when they are able.”

Prior to Nationals, the Pirettes had a successful local competition season, earning two NDA Regional Champion titles in Large Varsity Kick and Large Varsity Team Performance at the NDA Regional Competition, held at Walt Whitman High School in January. They also won numerous first and second place trophies at the Scholastic Kickline Competitions held at Nassau Community College. 

The team was led throughout the season by Coach Kerry Dennis, in her 12th season as coach, and captains Chloe Shipley, Jessica Roth, Jenna Buehler and Danielle Scalamandre.

— Compiled by Andrew Garcia