Cheerleaders Prepare for Winter Competition Season

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Staples Cheerleaders preform in a competition during the 09-10 season.

Although the fall season for sports has wrapped up, the cheerleading squad is only just getting started. As the only Staples team that practices formally through two seasons, the cheerleading team is prepping for the second half of its schedule. And winter season is competition season in cheer world. This is the time for the team to showcase its skills rather than just cheering for another team. “The winter season is more team based, not side lined based like the fall,” varsity cheerleading coach Denise Dargel said.

Because during the winter the team is officially judged and scored on its work and the flawlessness of its routines, the girls work extra hard at perfecting all of their skills. “We run, lift weights and work a lot on tumbling… the tone of practice in the winter is more serious because we know this is the time to really put our team on the map,” cheerleader Carolyn Hamm ‘11 said.

With a 7th place finish at last year’s state competition and a challenging experience at the FCIAC event, the team is looking to improve. “Our goal is to place higher than last year. Each year we’ve been progressing, so I just really want to keep it up,” Co-captain Neva Sanifillipp ’11 said.

The team has been working on new stunts and tumbling moves in hopes of accomplishing this goal. “We’ve worked on twist basket tosses, which is basically when you chuck someone up in the air and they do a complete spin before you catch them,” Sanfillipo explained. This move is worth many points because of its difficulty and will hopefully result in higher overall scores for the team.

Overall, the team believes it is more powerful than it has been in the past, which will lead to more success over the course of the season. “We have strong tumbling and cohesive stunt groups who have strong chemistry,” added Co-captain Lindsey Nelson ’11.

The team has also been working on many front tumbling moves such as front handsprings and front step-outs, both of which count for a high amount of points. The team started working on these harder moves earlier in the season than they have in the past the captains said, which will help them to be more confident in their abilities when it comes time to compete. “We also started our competition routine two months earlier than we normally do, so I’m confident all of our stunts will hit,” Hamm said.

The team’s most important competition is FCIACs, where it will face the hardest teams. But because there is no record kept from event to event, the team is able to start each competition with a clean slate. This allows the team to “go out with a clean routine, get the judges’ reactions on paper and see where we can improve for next time,” Dargel said. After each competition the squad will use the information to help it prepare for FCIACs without affecting its standing for any upcoming events.

With all the meticulous practice the team has put in, the girls are excited for the competitions to begin. “We are very motivated – with the new coaching staff and work on our tumbling, we’re ready. We’re on top of our game,” Nelson said.

“We are really just ready for everyone else in the FCIAC to see that we are serious competition,” Dargel concluded.

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