WHITE PLAINS – Going up against usual powers Hen Hud and Panas, Pearl River’s cheerleading team had some nerves heading into the first-ever Section 1 Cheerleading Championships at White Plains High School on Saturday.
The Lady Pirates, who were the only Rockland school at the meet, weren’t perfect on their routine, but they did well enough to win the small school, large team division.
“Being the lonely Rockland kid, we’re trying to make a name for ourselves,” Pearl River head coach Allison DeRosa said. “We’ve had a great season. They had to do their thing, they had to be confident, and they were.”
Along with winning their division, the Lady Pirates will also represent the section at the first-ever New York State Cheerleading Championships next weekend in Syracuse.
“It’s humbling, it’s very cool and I’m excited,” said Pearl River’s Kristen Flaherty, the lone senior on the team. “I think we’re most excited to see the competition and other teams (at states).”
With a chance to compete in the state championships on the line, most teams were, like Pearl River, nervous heading into the meet.
Even after a strong practice on Friday and a great warm-up, that was the case for Putnam Valley. The team, however, was able to come away with the small school, small division title.
“All the hard work we put in finally paid off,” Putnam Valley junior Antonia Hoyos said. “We wanted it more than anyone in this world. We knew it had to be in our hearts and that we had to put it on the mat.”
Other division winners heading to states include New Rochelle (large school, small team), Carmel (large school, large team) and John Jay-East Fishkill (mixed/co-ed).
“We’ve been waiting for this to happen; to finally watch this for the first time is thrilling in itself,” said John Jay-East Fishkill head coach Alice Granger, who is also the president of the section’s coaches association. “I told my team ‘this is the first time; wouldn’t it be cool to be one of the first ever to win?’ That was our driving force.”