It was a year of firsts in cheerleading.
For the first time, the high-flying sport of tumbling and cheering officially was sanctioned as an official sport in the eyes of New York State. The long-awaited start to an official competitive cheerleading season began this year and the future looks bright for local teams.
Earlier this year, the Blue Waves made history by advancing into the semifinals after its opening routine in Small Varsity Division I at the National High School Cheerleading Championship presented by Universal Cheerleaders Association. It was the first time the Blue Waves advanced out of the preliminaries. Two days later, the team was welcomed home in Riverhead by a crowd of supporters braving the bitter cold outside the high school late at night.
“Our goal was to make it to the semifinals and they did it,” coach Stephanie Piraino said after the team arrived home. “They have now set the bar for our returning athletes who now have set the goal of not only making semifinals but making it into the finals.”
The Blue Waves graduated the majority of that team, but have possibly returned even stronger to start the competitive season in December. The Blue Waves posted the top routine earlier this month at the UCA Pocono Regional, the first time the Blue Waves have won a competition. The team earned a score of 85.25 points while the next best team finished with 78.90. The Blue Waves received another ticket back to the Nationals for 2016.
It wasn’t the only first at the meet. The Shoreham-Wading River cheerleading team earned a score of 65.25 points to earn its first ever trip to Nationals. The Wildcats were the final team to earn a bid in the division.
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