Connecticut's Cheerleading Training Center - Home of the USA Wildcats - 285 Great Hill Rd - Naugatuck, CT. 06770 - (203) 729-CATS (2287)
Introducing our Coaching Staff for the 2013-14 Season
Tiny - Katie Card & Courtney Finnegan
Mini – Amy Butler & Courtney Finnegan
Youth 1/2 - Amy Butler, Alyssa Thomes & Courtney Finnegan
Junior Half-year - Michelle Peluso & Amber Russo
Junior - Gretchen Colagrossi & Amy Butler
Junior Coed - Leann Raponey & Jenna Raponey
Senior 2 - Alyssa Thomes & Brittany Ziman
Senior Red - Leann Raponey, Gretchen Colagrossi & Jamie Raponey
Senior Elite - Cheryl Thomes, Jamie Raponey & Brittney Colagrossi
Tumbling Coaches - Victoria Goldberg and Brittany Ziman
Stunt & Tumbe Consultant - Bucky O'Leary
Cheryl Thomes (OWNER, DIRECTOR & COACH)
Cheryl Thomes - Cheryl is the founder and director of the USA Wildcat All Star cheerleaders, established in May of 1997. She is also the owner of the USA Wildcats LLC. Cheryl has been very successful at coaching at all levels from pop Warner through college. She has been the head coach of the USA Wildcat Senior Elite team since the beginning. Cheryl's Senior Elite team has advanced to The Cheerleading Worlds 8 years in a row, where they competed with the best of the best. In 2011 her team placed 13th out of 84 teams. In 2012 they placed 8th out of 86 teams. This is her biggest accomplishment and most fondest memory. She started coaching our Senior Coed team in our Windsor gym in 2011. She was named 1994 coach of the year for the Olympian Club of Waterbury. Cheryl was also named Who's who among high school coaches in 1996 and Who's who of All Star coaches in 2009 in American Cheerleader Magazine. The USA Wildcats hold numerous nationals titles and national grand champion titles while under her direction. Cheryl was the assistant cheerleading coach of the nationally ranked Southern Connecticut State University cheerleading squad from 1992-2009. In 2009, SCSU won their first UCA National Collegiate cheerleading championship. She was also the assistant for the nationally ranked Quinnipiac University cheerleading squad from 2006-2009 and was the assistant acrobatics and tumbling coach at Quinnipiac in 2010 and 2011. Cheryl is USASF credentialed in levels 1 through 5.
C o p y r i g h t 1 9 9 7 - 2 0 1 1 USA WIldcats Allstar Cheerleading, L L C. l 285 Great Hill Rd, Naugatuck, CT 06770 l Phone: (203) 729-CATS (2287)
Connecticut Cheerleading l Connecticut Allstar Cheerleading l Connecticut Cheerleading Classes l Connecticut Cheerleading Training l Connecticut Cheerleading Teams
Leann Raponey: (Coach)
Leann Raponey - Leann has been coaching cheerleading for over 20 years. She has been coaching at USA Wildcats for 12 years & has coached Senior Red since it's inception. She has also coached junior 2, junior 3, senior 2 & a senior 4 team. All of her teams have won countless National Titles, grand championships & many specialty awards. She also was the cheer coordinator for Bristol Pop Warner for many years and a former junior high and pop warner cheerleading coach for 12 years. Leann is AACCA safety certified and has her NCA judges certification. She is also USASF credentialed. She enjoys working with cheerleaders of all ages & loves to motivate them to be confident & successful. She is also very proud of the fact that both of her daughters have followed in her footsteps and is happy to be coaching along side them.
Gretchen Colagrossi: (Coach)
Gretchen Colagrossi - Gretchen is presently coaching the USA Wildcat Senior Red Team and youth team in our Naugatuck gym. She is the former cheer coordinator for Waterbury Patriots Pop Warner and has also coached at Pop Warner and Junior High levels for 6 years. Her teams have advanced to regionals every year and have placed in the top eight in the respective division. In her 8 years of coaching for the USA Wildcats, her all star teams have won numerous National Titles in the respective divisions. Gretchen is AACCA safety certified and has her NCA Judges certification. She also has 26 years of dance experience. Gretchen is USASF credentialed
Jamie Raponey (Coach)
Jamie Raponey - Jamie has been involved with cheerleading for the past 20 years. She cheered for Bristol pop warner, St Anthonys School, Bristol Central High School, and USA Wildcats. She coached Bristol Pop warner for 4 years. She has been apart of the USA Wildcats for 12 years now. She cheered on our senior elite team for 3 years, our open team for 3 years, and has coached for 7 years. Her teams have won numerous local and national titles as well as grand champion awards and many specialty awards. Jamie also does choreography for many local high school and pop warner teams as well as some of our teams in our Naugatuck location and our Windsor location. She is AACCA certified and also USASF credentialed. Jamie is looking forward to another amazing season with the wildcats!
Brittney Colagrossi: (ASSISTANT DIRECTOR & COACH)
Brittney began cheering for the Wildcats in 2003 were she won her first National Title on our Junior Team. Since that point she has won numerous National Championship titles, and competed in some of the most prestigious competitions nationwide such as NCA, UCA, Cheersport, Jamfest Super Nationals and The Cheerleading Worlds. In 2005 she began coaching, and since has lead her teams to many first place victories, specialty awards, and National Championships. On top of coaching Brittney does routine, stunt and pyramid choreography for many Cheerleading teams in the area along with many of our Wildcat teams. Brittney is currently the Assistant Director of our Naugatuck location, and coaches in both Naugatuck and Windsor. She will graduate from Central Connecticut State University this May with a degree in Tourism and Hospitality.
Jenn Fontano- (Coach)
Jenn Fontano - Jenn has been coaching the USA Wildcats Mini team since 2005 and Tiny team in 2006. Every year our Mini team has accomplished numerous first place wins. In 2008 our minis won their first 2 national titles. This past season coaching the Youth team, they won 7 out of 8 National Championships. She has over 25 years of cheerleading and dance experience. She also coached Kennedy High School in Waterbury from 1988-1996. In 1991 they were runner-up in the Class L State Competition under her direction. Jenn is first aid and CPR safety certified. Jenn is also USASF Credentialed.
Amy Butler- (Coach)
Amy Butler - Amy started at USA coaching youth level 2 for 2007-2008 season. She has coached at the youth level for 5 years. Amy also coached Krazy Kitties mini level 1 for the 2011-2012 season and 2012-2013 season. USA started a half year team in 2010-2011 season, and she have coached this team the past 3 seasons. This past season she began coaching the Junior level 2 for 2012-2013. On top of coaching at Wildcats she is also am the cheer coordinator for Ansonia Coppers American youth football and cheer, and has coached numerous teams at all levels to local, state, regional and national championships. She started out cheering for this program when she was 8 years old, coached and for the past 4 years has been coordinator.
*Katie Card (Coach)
Katie Card - Katie started cheerleading when she was 8 years old and has cheered for Pop Warner, Junior High, Holy Cross High School, and the USA Wildcats Open team. Katie has been coaching since 2000 at the Pop Warner, Junior High, and High School level. She started coaching the USA Wildcats Mini and Tiny team in 2007. Katie has a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and her master's degree in Elementary Education. She is first aid and CPR certified. Katie is also USASF Credentialed.
Alyssa Thomes (Coach)
Alyssa Thomes - Alyssa was previously a cheerleader for the USA Wildcats from 2000-2010. She coached our Junior Elite team from 2005-2007 and our Senior Elite team from 2007-2008. Alyssa's fondest memory was when her Junior Elite team won Jamfest Super Nationals in Indianapolis in 2006. After high school graduation, Alyssa cheered on USA wildcats open team in 2007-2008 season. She then danced for the worlds bronze medalist open hip hop team, ECB's Street Elite in 2009-2010. Alyssa returned to coaching at the USA Wildcats. She coached our half year team three years in a row, along with our Junior 1 team in 2012-2013. She is looking forward to another great season with the wildcats. Alyssa is USASF credentialed in levels 1-5.
Jenna Raponey (Coach)
Jenna Raponey- Jenna has been a cheerleader for the USA Wildcats since she was 8 years old. Her first year cheering she won a national title at AmeriCheer Nationals in Orlando. She has won numerous nationals every single year that she cheered. Her last year cheering for our Senior 3 team she won 3 national titles, All levels & US Finals champions & numerous specialty awards & grand championships. Jenna is currently attending college to pursue a degree in Business. She enjoys being able to coach alongside of her mother and sister.
Victoria Goldberg - (Tumbling Coach)
Victoria Goldberg - Victoria has been involved with gymnastics since she was 3 years old, and began competing at the age of 5. Victoria had a private gymnastic instructor from Germany for three years. She grew up in Valparaiso, Indiana, where she made the gymnastics team for Valparaiso High School as a freshman. She competed in Sectionals, Regionals, Semi-State, and State competitions. Victoria was the captain for her High School gymnastics teams during her senior year. She went on to college where she taught cheerleaders to tumble, and she herself cheered for Northwood University which is located in Michigan. Victoria graduated with a Fashion Merchandising Degree with a concentration on advertising. After college, it was in Connecticut where Victoria learned many new techniques to teach gymnastics to all ages, infants to adults from her very special friend Claudiu Catalin Varlam, who was a Gold Medal gymnast from Romania. Claudiu was a World Aerobic Champion and a gymnast coach in Bucuresti, Romania. Victoria takes pride in implementing Claudiu’s techniques as part of training her students. She has also worked with Debbie Love, and of course Bucky O’Leary. Victoria has helped train many National Champions, not only in gymnastics, but also cheerleaders. She owned her own cheerleading training center for about four years. Victoria lives in Newtown, Connecticut with her loving husband, Dr. Scot Goldberg, as well as her daughter Hanna, and son Asher. She has been a tumbling coach for all the teams with the Wildcat family since 2006 and looks forward to every new season.
USA Wildcat’s Mission - is to teach the sport of competitive cheer in a way that is positive, safe and effective. Our goal is to provide an affordable, character-building program for the youth of our state. The staff is here to strengthen and condition, teach proper motion technique, jumps, stunting, tumbling and provide a level of skill required to compete at a national level.
Our commitment is to provide a positive outlet for athletes to express their capabilities, creativity and skills. We encourage members to demonstrate excellence in sportsmanship, competitiveness, teamwork, and leadership while acting as positive role models and effective members of their community.
Along with the physical side of cheerleading we strive to build self-confidence, self-discipline, and self-esteem. This enables the cheerleaders to achieve their goals, develop everlasting friends and have fun while doing it.
By providing a wholesome environment for athletic competition we will instill in our athletes the challenge of competition, the joy of victory, the reality of defeat, and the importance of commitment.
USA Wildcat Mission Statement:
Courtney Finnegan (Coach)
Courtney Finnegan - Courtney has been a part of the USA Wildcats since 2003. She has won over 30 combined national and grand champion titles in her 10 years cheering for the program. She has also competed with the Senior Elite team at The Cheerleading Worlds 4 times. Courtney has helped coach tiny, mini, and youth teams at USAWildcats since 2007 and is looking forward to coaching in the program for many more years. Courtney will be starting her junior year at Western Connecticut State University in the fall, working toward a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She plans to attend graduate school in the future.
ALL STAR TEAMS
The USA Wildcats is the first, largest and has proven to be the most successful All-Star Cheerleading Program in the state of Connecticut
The USA Wildcat All Star Teams are a fantastic way for your children to grow as athletes and have fun in the process.
Established in May, 1997- Our facility is opened to Competitive Cheer Teams and cheer clinics catering to athletes from ages 3-18. We offer teams and clinics for every age and ability level. If you are a beginner or have been cheerleading and tumbling for years, we have a team that is sure to challenge you.
Our coaching staff has combined over 150 years of experience in cheerleading, dance and gymnastics and would love to have a chance to work with your child.
Brittany Ziman (Coach)
Brittany Ziman - Brittany is USASF credentialed and has been coaching All Star Cheerleading for 6 years, and this is her second year coaching at Wildcats. She has cheered for 11 years and has earned many National titles as a coach as well as a cheerleader in her youth, high school and all star careers. Brittany graduated from Newtown High school and was the Varsity Cheerleading Captain.
She has also coached and choreographed routines for many AYC and Pop Warner programs in Connecticut. She spent 4 years coaching in the Newtown Youth Cheerleading program, bringing her team to Nationals each year, as well as coaching Brookfield Pop Warner's first team to Pop Warner Nationals in 2008 and placed top 5 in the Nation. Brittany has worked with many high school cheer programs in Connecticut and coached for Brookfield High School. Over the summer, Brittany works for Camp Woodward's cheer staff teaching camps to athletes from across the country. In December, Brittany earned her college degree in Early Childhood Education. When Brittany isn't coaching her teams, she is a tumbling coach for our Naugatuck and Windsor locations, doing Private Lessons and tumbling our teams.
Danielle Pilloise (Coach)
Danielle Pilloise - Danielle started gymnastics at age 6 and trained up to level 7 at USA Gymnastics and Gymnastics Unlimited in Bristol. She began cheering at age 10 for Wolcott Pop Warner and was on the Tyrrell Middle School cheer team for 3 years. As a freshman and sophomore she was on Wolcott High School's Varsity Cheer team which won NVL's, States, and National Championships. As a sophomore she made the class M All State Cheer Team. In 2005 she began cheering at USA Wildcats on Senior Elite; this was the first year they went to The Cheerleading Worlds and made it to finals. She cheered on Senior Elite for 5 years and competed at The Cheerleading Worlds all 5 years. She was also on the Open level 6 team for 2 years. In college, Danielle was recruited onto the Acrobatics and Tumbling Team at Quinnipiac University. She became Senior Captain in 2012 and was awarded MVP. This past season was her first year coaching Junior Vicious, level 1. She enjoys coaching and sharing her passion for the sport with young athletes. She looks forward to another great season and can't wait to learn more.