The Shoreham-Wading River High School cheerleading squad won’t be going to the New York State championships in Syracuse next weekend, but that’s OK for the Wildcats. They felt they had accomplished what they needed to do at the Suffolk County Division 2 small schools championship at Longwood High School on Saturday morning.
They performed well and had fun.
“It went pretty good,” junior Julia Green said. “We had a lot of fun, which I think is the key. It’s important for our team to have fun. No one was stressed out about doing good or placing. We just had fun in the last competition together.”
Defending champion Babylon won the group while Sayville finished second. Miller Place was the other school in the finals.
Shoreham senior Emma Tase was impressed with her team’s overall performance.
“Our energy was up, which is something we needed to really work on throughout the entire season,” she said. “The stunts that we were worried about hitting went really well.”
Coach Tiffany Pelczar changed the team’s routine the past week, giving the Wildcats a challenge to perfect it.
“The girls really did well in the changes,” she said. “They hit some harder stunts. Their cheer had a lot of energy. So the girls really did well in a short amount of time because we were over winter break this week.”
“Normally you have to work for an entire season, but we just started doing these stunts this week,” she said. “So it’s really impressive that we got them and hit them really good.”
The Wildcats have qualified for the finals in each of the five years that Pelczar has coached the team.
“We’re a varsity-only program,” she said. “We don’t have a JV or middle school [cheerleading program]. So it’s a really big accomplishment to be here and see the kids do what they do.”
Teamwork has been vital to the Wildcats’ success, plus “their ability to work together, keep building confidence,” Pelczar said.
“They motivated each other,” she added. “This is a hard sport. These girls spend from August until now together. Then they work in the offseason, too. It can get pretty tough because they spend so much time together. The way they motivate each other and talk together, and pushing each other through during routines and during practices is definitely one of our strengths.”
Bishop McGann-Mercy and Westhampton Beach were late scratches from the finals. It is not known why those squads did not compete.
Photo caption: The Shoreham-Wading River team competing during the Section XI Championships Saturday morning at Longwood High School. (Credit: Bill Landon)