Phoenix co-coaches Rosie Richmond and Kellee Fortier no longer have to wait for the rest of the team members, who were transported from Livermore Falls to Jay for the past two years, to arrive for afternoon practices

There is a growing continuity on the squad now that all cheerleaders are attending one school without the daily interruption of an afternoon bus ride.

“This year it is easier with them in one building,” Richmond said. “We had to wait two years. In the past, we had to wait for the bus to get here. Everybody is right here.”

Richmond says that with all her cheerleaders attending one school helps build a stronger unity among the athletes as the rivalry between the two former schools disappears.

Being under one roof means better communication for the team, Fortier explained. The advantage will allow her cheering squad to get the same announcements and messages in one building.

“And for team building, they see each other through the day now, (and) a lot of them have lunch together,” Fortier said. “When there are events going on, they are at the same event, versus when they were in two separate buildings, they never saw each other, other than to come together for practice time.

“They just seem to have a better sense of team. Of course in the past two years, there was still quite a few girls who cheered as rivals, really.

“We are entering the third year now. The girls that we have as seniors, would have cheered on separate teams. But the kids that are now sophomores and freshmen have been together in the middle school, and that was the first building to consolidate. They have been together for several years now. That sense of knowing each other and that lack of rivalry is fixing itself, so to speak.”

All that change at Spruce Mountain has also brought unity to a hard-working cheering team when the schools were combined.

The Dynamic Duo

The Richmond-Fortier cheerleading co-coaching act has been around for nearly two decades, with no end in sight. For 17 rewarding years, this mom-and-daughter routine has been successful thanks to a great relationship that has been solidified through coaching.

There is no evidence of rivalry between them. They also work well together out of necessity, but their compassion for the sport makes it that much easier for Richmond and Fortier to get the job done.

“Competition is so much for one person to judge,” said Richmond, who takes care of all the paperwork. “In the winter, we each have our own jobs to do.

“I let her do some of the teaching things. It’s like having an extra pair of eyes and hands.”

Fortier doesn’t want to go it alone during competition and enjoys every year she gets to coach with her mother.

“It’s good. We work well together,” Fortier said. “We have a good relationship. It has always worked for us.

“I teach through the day. She has always been a stay-at-home mom so she kind of takes care of all the paper-work stuff through the day. We kind of compliment each other well in that way.

“When you combine the basketball season and the competition season, It would be a lot for one person.”

But that Herculean task is not a burden for a dedicated mother and daughter who enjoy coaching a bunch of kids who soar through the air each winter.

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