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.