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Cheerleading: North Fork Cheer teams win national titles

North Fork Cheer has a motto: “Anything is possible through hard work and commitment.”

That apparently includes national championships.

Three teams representing Cutchogue-based North Fork Cheer competed in The U.S. Finals this past weekend at Providence Convention Center in Rhode Island, and two of them went home as champions. North Fork Cheer teams finished first in Level 2 and Level 3 while its Level 1 team came in third among 27 teams.

“It was just incredible,” said Stephanie Piraino, a coach and co-owner of North Fork Cheer along with Lauren Berry. “I think the kids were ecstatic. I don’t think they expected it.”

North Fork Cheer, which is in its sixth year servicing youngsters from Riverhead to Orient Point, has 50 cheerleaders ages 5 to 16, said Piraino.

The cheerleaders performed two-minute routines, full of music, with stunting and tumbling.

The level 2 team. (Credit: Stephanie Piraino courtesy photo)

“I have to say that all three teams gave us flawless performance,” Piraino said, noting that there were no deductions on the scoresheet for the Level 1 and 2 teams. “The energy that we felt from all three teams was just outstanding,” she said. “You could tell from their performance just how invested they were.”

Piraino, who is also the Riverhead High School varsity cheerleading coach, oversees all the teams along with Berry. The team specific coaches are Brittanie Rocco for Level 1, Chelsea Cawley for Level 2 and Ben Berlinder for Level 3.

The three teams each have card-related nicknames. Level 1 is the Red Hearts, Level 2 the Black Diamonds and Level 3 the Golden Spades.

Piraino said, “They’re part of a whole deck working together … They are a really consistent group, but this is like a real deal national competition … This is a huge accomplishment for them.”

Top Caption: The level 3 team celebrates its victory. (Credit: Stephanie Piraino courtesy photo.)

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