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More than 300 hopefuls audition for Cheerleaders squad

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The old anecdote says the way to get to Carnegie Hall is by "practice, practice, practice."

Similarly, more than 300 participants auditioned Saturday morning in hopes of earning their spot on the Gillette Stadium sidelines this fall as a member of the New England Patriots Cheerleaders. Many of those who auditioned have spent a great number of years practicing and perfecting their craft before twirling, kicking and high-stepping in the Dana-Farber Field House with the goal of becoming one of the 28 women to make the squad for the 2010 season.

Sarah Stevenson, of Rehoboth, Mass., returned to participate for a second-straight year.

"I just want to make it past where I did last year," she said before going in front of the judges. "Hopefully, I'll make the finals if not make the team. I made the last cut of the first preliminaries last year and if I can make it past that this year I would be happy."

When Stevenson was asked whether she'd gained anything from her previous audition, she replied: "Yes, definitely, keep on smiling, no matter what."

Stevenson is a dance teacher and nothing would have made her smile more than to tell her students that she had made the squad.

"That would be the ultimate," she added.

Candidates performed various dance routines in front of the panel and were judged on dance ability, showmanship, overall appearance and level of physical fitness.

After Saturday's audition, the field will be narrowed to approximately 30 semi-finalists, who will be invited back along with members of the current Patriots Cheerleaders squad for final auditions on Saturday, March 6.

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