Three Cheers: Staples Cheerleaders Place 6 in FCIACs, Three Earn All FCIAC Honors


Graphic by Alex Greene and Ellie Kalatzi

Eliza Llewellyn, Staff Writer

Under the bright, hot lights of the Fairfield Warde gym, pop music blared, cameras flashed, and moms jockeyed for seats in the packed bleachers at the 2013 Cheerleading FCIACs on Saturday, Feb. 2. 12 schools participated in the competition, each contributing a two-and-a-half minute routine as well as a heady dose of school spirit. Staples placed sixth in their division and three of its cheerleaders made the All FCIAC Team for their routines in Cheer Individuals, performed last Thursday.

The results represented a strong finish for Staples.  “It was great to end up in the top half,” said Coach Avery Watson. The team’s score was less than 2.5 points away from making the top five.

This competition followed last year’s fifth place finish.  “In previous years, Staples was never regarded as a team to beat,” said Zoe Googe ’13, one of the team’s captains. “Then last year we got 5th and gained a lot of recognition and finally were seen as the skillful team that I believe we are.”

Three cheerleaders, Olivia Stanley ’13, Maddy Mann ’13, and Jessy Nelson ’16, earned all FCIAC Honors this year, placing in the top 25 out of 40 in their individual cheer competition. The girls were nominated by their coach based on their skills.

As a part of the individual competition, the girls had to come up with an individual cheer and perform jumps and tumbling. The routine was a departure from the usual group-oriented choreography.

“Competing individually is a lot more difficult because every little mistake you do is obvious,” Nelson said. “Plus you have to be extra loud.”

However, Watson sees the more individual competition as a good opportunity. “Cheerleading is the epitome of a team sport. You have to make sure all 20 are perfect on the same day and at the same time,” she said. “The individual competition gives the athlete the opportunity to really shine.”

Despite the individual nature of Stanley, Mann, and Nelson’s routines, the team was unified throughout preparation for FCIACs. “We do the entire [individual routine] in front of the whole team to try and help with the nerves that go along with performing in front of large groups of people,” said Mann.

According to Stanley, one of cheer captains, the team has been prepping their group routine since the fall, with a focus on stunting as well as days dedicated to tumbling practice. “We work very hard on all aspects of our routine at every practice,” Stanley said.

The team’s focus on hard work was evident in their desire to progress in future performances. “We will continue to improve throughout the season,” Watson said. According to Googe, the team will work on cleaning up its technique, which may have accounted for some docked points during the group routine.

“The group routine was not perfect,” Watson said. “But everyone came off the floor happy and supportive, and that means so much more than a first place trophy. It was an excellent performance.”