05/11/14 10:00am
05/11/2014 10:00 AM
The Riverhead varsity cheerleaders placed 20th at Nationals today in Orlando, Fla. (Courtesy photo)

The Riverhead varsity cheerleaders placed 20th at Nationals earlier this year. (Credit: courtesy)

It’s an activity in which strained tendons, split lips and the occasional concussion are expected — and your safety relies wholly on trusting your teammates to back you up and catch you when you fall.

It’s cheerleading — which last week was unanimously recognized as a sport by the New York State Board of Regents. To this I say, it’s about time.

Here’s why, based on my firsthand experience.  (more…)

04/30/14 12:00pm
04/30/2014 12:00 PM
Riverhead cheerleaders perform during halftime of a football game Nov. 16. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Riverhead cheerleaders perform during halftime of a football game Nov. 16. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Riverhead athletic director Bill Groth remembers attending cheerleading competitions for the first time sometime around the mid-90s. The Blue Waves were a newcomer to the competitive scene, a phenomenon just beginning to sweep Long Island.

“You go to those championships,” Groth said, “and you’re going to have one word come out: Wow.” (more…)

02/08/14 5:00pm
02/08/2014 5:00 PM

The Riverhead varsity cheerleaders placed 20th at Nationals today in Orlando, Fla. (Courtesy photo)

Update: Riverhead finished 20th in today’s competition and did not advance beyond the first round.

Original Story: The Riverhead varsity cheerleading team is in Orlando, Fla. today to compete at the National High School Cheerleading Championship presented by Universal Cheerleaders Association. (more…)

08/05/13 10:00am
08/05/2013 10:00 AM
Cheerling Riverhead and North FOrk

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | North Fork Cheer coach Lauren Berry teaches Lauren Mullen, 6, and Ashleigh Doering, 6, how to lift Mila Kruk, 4, each of Southold, during a summer cheerleading camp.

The Peconic Panthers youth football team may have some new competition.

Cheerleaders will soon be claiming the sidelines at the peewee football teams’ home games, claiming the attention of parents and spectators with their cheers and a halftime show.

Two cheerleading coaches from Riverhead High School started North Fork Cheer, which gives girls in Mattituck, Southold and Greenport the chance to learn how to cheer at a young age. Those school districts do not offer cheerleading until junior high or high school.

The earlier girls learn to cheer the better, said Lauren Berry, co-owner of North Fork Cheer and coach of Riverhead’s junior varsity squad. In Riverhead, girls have the opportunity to begin cheering at age 5.

Ms. Berry and Stephanie Piraino, varsity cheerleading coach and a Riverhead ninth-grade English teacher, said they hope the program will help the North Fork’s high school cheerleading teams stack up against other skilled Long Island cheering squads.

North Fork Cheer is open to girls ages 5 to 17 and offers instruction on safe techniques, dances and cheers.

cmiller@timesreview.com

02/09/13 1:20pm
02/09/2013 1:20 PM
COURTESY PHOTO  |  The Riverhead varsity cheerleading team is competing in nationals

COURTESY PHOTO | The Riverhead varsity cheerleading team is competing in the National High School Cheerleading Championship today in Florida.

There’s no snow in Disney.

The Riverhead varsity cheerleading team will compete in the National High School Cheerleading Championship this afternoon at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The Blue Waves will compete in the small varsity division and are scheduled to perform at 4 p.m. at the ESPN World Wide of Sports Varsity Arena.

The event is available for a live stream at Varsity.com. However, it is not free.

For more coverage and results of the event, click here.

01/29/13 1:30pm
01/29/2013 1:30 PM
COURTESY PHOTO  |  The Riverhead varsity cheerleading team

COURTESY PHOTO | The Riverhead varsity cheerleading team, shown during a pep rally earlier this year, won first place Sunday at the Winter Cheer Classic in East Islip.

Riverhead’s varsity cheerleading team overcame injuries and illness to claim first place Sunday at the Winter Cheer Classic in East Islip. The Blue Waves were tops in the eight-team competition, setting the stage for another trip to nationals in two weeks.

Riverhead will compete in the National High School Cheerleading Championships (UCA) at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. on Feb. 9-10.

Riverhead coach Stephanie Piraino said the team had two athletes go down with the flu and two others suffer injuries before the competition.

“This caused us to change our original game plan and forced the team to take on additional responsibilities  learn new positions and rework the routine,” she said in a press release. “With less than two full team practices, the team had to focus and help one another in order to perform a winning routine.”

The varsity team has been competing in competitions since November, while also supporting the football and basketball teams throughout their seasons.

In order to reach nationals, Riverhead needed a win at the regional level. The national competition is televised on ESPN.

11/29/12 12:51pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Giovanni Aliotta, 5, of Wading River, on the line to be served.

More than 200 people turned out for the Riverhead High School varsity cheerleaders’ spaghetti dinner fundraiser Wednesday evening at the Polish Town Civic Association’s chalet headquarters on Lincoln Avenue.

The civic and its members covered all the costs for the event, which will help the cheerleaders pay for a trip to Florida in February to go to nationals.

PTCA members did the shopping, paid for the food and prepared it — all the girls had to do was to show up and help serve.

They cooked up 20 pounds of spaghetti, 20 pounds of baked ziti, 50 pounds of sausage, 40 pounds of meatballs, salads, and 40 loaves of garlic bread. Parents of the cheerleaders prepared the desserts.

Riverhead Middle School and PAL cheerleaders turned out to show their support as did the Riverhead varsity football team. They also held a 50/50 raffle and handed out two $50 lotto scratch off tickets.

Riverhead Varsity Cheerleading coach Stephanie Piriano said she was overwhelmed by the support the team received from the community.

“It was quite an amazing thing to see so many people come together for my girls,” she said in an email. “I know how hard they work and how much dedication they have, but it was truly gratifying to see that others share in my passion for the kids as well as support them.”

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The Riverhead Middle School cheerleaders came to dine and show their support.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Mary Jo Gottschalk of Wading River adds some more sauce to the pasta.