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Greenwich Special Needs Cheer Team Makes Competitive Debut

The Alexandrites cheers team competes in a recent meet. Members left to right are: Dakota Hirsch Melissa Weaving (Kaitlyn Cunningham (Greenwich); Taylor Ingraham, Maryellen Weaving, Lauren Bria, Tajea Walton and J.J. Walton. Photo Credit: Contributed by Spirit Zone Too
Spirit Zone cheer teams compete a recent competition. Bottom left to right) are Victoria Sobeski, Kaitlyn Cunningham, Taylor Ingraham, and Lauren Bri and on top is Maryellen Weaving. Photo Credit: Contributed by Spirit Zone Too

GREENWICH, Conn. – A cheerleading team from Spirit Zone Too in Old Greenwich with three special needs participants recently completed its first competition.

The cheerleaders competed with six volunteer cheerleaders. The Alexandrites have been perfecting a 2 1/2-minute routine with coach Melissa Mansi since last fall.

Gym owner Anne Aguiar-Asta has wanted to create a special needs cheer team for several years. Mansi is a senior at Southern Connecticut State University studying special education. She is also a cheerleader with the Connecticut Spirit All-Stars, which also owns Spirit Zone Too.

“This is something I've always wanted to do since the very first time I saw a similar team in Atlanta,’’ Aguiar-Asta said. “It seemed to come together when Melissa came to work for us, as she would be perfect with her background and education with special needs children.”

The team's debut had fans on their feet cheering them on, Aguiar-Asta said. They came away each with a medal and an enormous sense of accomplishment, she said.

Connecticut Spirit All-Stars is located in Greenwich, Hamden and East Windsor, and hosts several free community events throughout the year.

Team members are special needs athletes Melissa Weaving, Maryellen Weaving and J.J. Walton. Volunteers are Greenwich's  Dakota Hirsch, Kaitlyn Cunningham, Taylor Ingraham, Lauren Brian and Victoria Sobeski, and Stratford's Tajea Walton.

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