Trying to predict how judges will see things in a subjective sport like cheerleading can be a tricky thing. Different judges see things differently. Sometimes there are surprises.
“You can never tell,” Shoreham-Wading River senior main Cataleena Trimingham said. “Sometimes you think you did so bad and then somehow you get up there, and then sometimes you think you did so good and then you’re just down. You just never know.”
To add a little more uncertainty into the mix, SWR unveiled a brand new 2-minute-and-30-second routine at the Section XI competition Saturday at Rocky Point High School. The Wildcats felt good about their performance after fine-tuning their new routine as late as during warmups.
“I thought we did pretty good for just getting a whole new routine,” senior back Olivia Daleo said. “We hit it very tight. Our pyramid was the best pyramid we’ve ever done. Our tumbling was insane today.”
Nonetheless, when the final Small Division II results came out, they showed SWR fourth among nine teams. Not bad, but one place shy of a plaque that went to the top three teams.
“I think that we hit pretty good,” Trimingham said. “We did the best that we could and, honestly, I think we care more about how we execute than how we place.”
SWR coach Brie Carlen echoed those sentiments, saying: “We’re here to hit. We’re not here for the trophy. We’re here to progress every week and the changes that we made hit.”
Sayville came in first, Hampton Bays second (with only six cheerleaders) and Miller Place third.
Riverhead was seventh among 12 teams in a Small Division I session. East Islip took first, followed by Connetquot and Walt Whitman.
Just two seasons removed from a forfeited season, SWR has been consistent. For the first time in program history, it finished second in a Section XI competition (twice) to go with a pair of fourths. SWR has never taken a first, but that may not be too far off in the future, given the strides the Wildcats have made.
“Honestly, my freshman year, I never thought we would come this far,” Daleo said. “Our freshman year, we went to nationals, we got second to last and we just thought, we didn’t get last, so it was good.”
Carlen said the team has changed dramatically with five new cheerleaders. Compared to last season’s squad, she said: “They’re just more knowledgeable, they’re more motivated … They just keep progressing and rising. It’s a good run and it’s going to keep getting better and we have more to come.”
And what about a first first-place finish? Well, the panel of judges they perform in front of will have something to say about that.