Bishop Donahue Bishops Head coach: Dana Mele
A season ago, Bishop Donahue captured its fifth consecutive OVAC cheering championship and finished as the Single A state runner-up in 2015.
As hard as it would be for the Bishops to top those accolades, they brought home a Single A state championship to McMechen in 2016 and are looking for their sixth OVAC title in a row.
Led by sixth-year coach Dana Mele, who has been with the program for seven years, the Bishops have the experience and a family-like bond that could win them that sixth straight title.
“Overall, we have more experience now,” Mele said.
“They have a taste of getting down to states and they are encouraged and more relaxed.
“I have known some of these girls since the grade school level and they are a great group of kids. It is a long season and they have really gotten along well.”
The 13-girl, tight-knit group consists of seniors Josie Bonar, Madyson Kellar, Jennifer Richmond, Elizabeth Smith and Megan Stout; juniors Lauren Bonar, Caroline Brannan, Melissa O’Kelley and Madison Wiedebusch; sophomores Danielle Ferrera and Naila Thomsen; and freshmen Sadie Neuman and Christine Smith.
“Our seniors want to win their fourth OVAC title in their careers,” Mele said.
“Since practice started in August until now, we have put more on the court and we want to bring our ‘A’ game. They are a hard-working bunch of girls and I am very fortunate for the talent we have on the team and we never take anything for granted.”
Assistant coaches for Mele are Katrina Bonar and Bethani Tweedlie, while Joey Takacs handles the choreography.
“This year’s routine is packed with multiple tumbling passes and very cute and energetic pom dance,” Mele said.
“I always tell the girls one more time and leave it all out on the floor.”