hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

February 14, 2013

Former divers making waves in world of cheerleading

By Mike LaBella
Staff Writer

---- — Rob DiVincenzo handled the choreography while his twin brother, Dave, was in charge of the music.

The dynamic duo known as the Diving DiVos when they were members of Haverhill High School’s competitive diving team are now shaking up the world of competitive cheerleading.

They merged their creative talents and, with a little help from the Amesbury cheerleading team called “All That Diamonds,’’ the duo is turning a few heads.

Based at the All That Cheer and Tumble training complex in Amesbury, the Diamonds team was impressive against 46 other teams in the Level 3 division at the annual Athletic Championships, held Jan. 26 and 27 in Providence, R.I. The co-ed team competes at the all-star level and consists of 30 girls and one boy, ranging in age from 10 to 18.

The Diamonds took first place, were named overall grand champions for having the highest overall scores at their level, and were one of only four of the 210 competing teams to be awarded a paid bid. That covers the team’s entry fee into “The Summit,” an all-levels national competition being held in Orlando, Florida, May 4 and 5. The Diamonds also received four nights of accommodations at a Disney Resort hotel and passes to Disneyworld.

Rob DiVincenzo said the paid bid award amounts to a total value of $510 for each of the 31 team members and two coaches. Paid bids also went to first-place teams at Levels 2, 4 and 5, he said. The Diamonds, coached by Rob DiVincenzo and Cara Wilson, also received the Innovative Choreography award.

”To know that it actually came true and that all of our hard work paid off was really moving,” Rob DiVincenzo said. “The team worked really hard. We condition a lot. A lot of teams still don’t understand that it’s an acrobatic sport. Like football players who condition all the time, to reach a certain level you have to train, do push ups, stretches, sprints and other conditioning exercises. There are a lot of injuries in cheerleading because coaches don’t take time to condition their kids.”

Dave DiVincenzo mixes the high-energy music and customizes it to routines choreographed by brother Rob . Dave DiVincenzo does the same for other cheerleading teams across the country, crafting music mixes that get the crowds and judges pumped up.

”It’s a collaborative artistic effort that results in routines that really stand out,” Rob DiVincenzo said. “The music is very important. If your audience or judging panel can’t emotionally relate to the music, then everything you do is in vain. Especially when you get to a high level of cheerleading. Little things make a huge difference.”

The Diamonds compete in the Senior Co-ed Level 3 division, meaning the acrobatics are more complex than Level 1 or 2, but less complex than Levels 4 and 5 — the highest level of difficulty.

Tumbling and acrobatics is nothing new for these Haverhill twins. Rob, 27, was the first male on Haverhill High’s cheerleading team, followed by brother Dave. The two have been tumbling since they were kids and were even in a Hollywood movie about cheerleading, “Bring It On 4, In It To Win It.”

They graduated from Haverhill High in 2003.

For last month’s competition in Providence, Rob DiVincenzo spent four months mapping out a routine for the Diamonds that included acrobatic tumbles, lifts, jumps and dance moves that looked as though the team was performing at a higher level of competition. Their fast-paced acrobatics captured the attention of judges.

”One of the judges’ comments was that the routine flowed seamlessly from one section to another and had a good variety of skills,” Rob said. “They loved the music too.”

”The difficulty of cheerleading at the all-star level is extremely intense,” he said.

The Large Senior All-Girl team, “Platinum Stars,” also based at All That Cheer and Tumble in Amesbury, received an “at-large” bid (invitation to compete) to The Summit in Orlando after placing second out of six teams in their division at the Athletic Championships in Providence. The Platinum Stars are coached by Kristen Almquist and Sherri Blais.