Regional high school students start classes later than usual this year, but the fall athletes are already on the fields preparing for the upcoming season. Mornings and evenings bring a flurry of activity to the quiet school campus as football, field hockey, cross country, soccer and golf shake off the summer haze and get down to business.

It’s a time of tryouts, when varsity and junior varsity teams are created, and a time of camaraderie as teammates work through drills and circuits. It is also exhausting.

When the high school football team took to the field last year for the annual Island Cup game, there were no Vineyard cheerleaders. Nantucket had brought their squad, and the Vineyard junior high team performed their routine at the earlier middle school game, but the purple and white had no sideline representation.

That will change this fall as junior high coaches Sue Costello and Shannon Capra take their talents to the high school level to rebuild the program, which was absent last season after years of shrinking attendance. Mrs.



Attitude!” shouted high school cheerleading coach Stephanie Andrade before last Friday’s football game against Nauset. The eight members of the squad were warming up before the game by practicing their dance routine. Staggered in two lines, the all-girl squad marched head-on like models on a runway.

Friday was a warmup for this weekend’s Island Cup game. “We perform at our fullest for every game, but the Nantucket game is the biggest one, so we are preparing,” senior Ashleen Cafarelli said.


Amanda Gonsalves, a high school junior and varsity cheerleader who was seriously injured during a practice earlier in the week, is at home recovering with her family.

Vineyard schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss said Ms.Gonsalves was injured during practice at the high school on Thursday; emergency responders rushed to the scene and the cheerleader was airlifted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.