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Competitive cheerleading squads making the most of an abbreviated season

A little over three weeks ago, Section II gave the OK for “higher risk” sports to compete, including competitive cheerleading.

While some teams opted not to compete due to the short season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gloversville High School squad was among the teams that opted to compete, virtually.

“We have worked really hard to get here and it is amazing the things that they have accomplished in nine practices,” Gloversville High School cheerleading coach Shauna-Rae Haley said. “We were quarantined for a week so we had only nine practices and this is something we normally have all year to get ready for.”

Shenendehowa hosted the first Section II competition of the season Saturday without fans in the stands and teams submitting their routines and stunts virtually.

“There are normally well over a thousand people in the stands, which most people are surprised about,” Haley said. “We are going to recorded with no audience and no one to cheer us on and submitted the video to be presented to all the other schools competing in Section II in a Google platform. The judges then judged the presentations given to them.”

With some of the schools opting not to compete due to the short season, Gloversville competed in the D-2 Small along with Section II teams from Broadalbin-Perth and Galway and came away with a fourth-place finish.

“Teams do a 2:30 minute routine that consists of a cheer of 30 seconds and the rest is stunting, which is a huge portion of our scoresheet,” Haley said. “It includes tumbling, which is an individual skill but it counts more when you have more people doing the same skill.”

For the senior members of the squad, competing means a lot more.

“It means a lot,” senior Alana Biasini said. “We were really looking forward to this season and were bummed out, like everyone, by the coronavirus. We really appreciate that we have a chance to compete one more time as a team.”

Classmate Caitlyn Fonda agreed, saying “It is just good to be back with all my friends for my last year. We kept in touch and had zoom calls to check up on each other.”

While cheerleaders have been mostly noted for being on the sidelines cheering on football and basketball games and doing halftime routines, Biasini said. “That is the boring side of cheerleading. The fun part is competing, throwing people in the air and competing against other squads. The best part of cheerleading is hearing the crowd and making you want to push more.”

The teams will get a another chance to virtually compete again this Saturday.

“I am incredibly proud of all of the athletes for everything they have done and have been through this season,” Haley said. “Especially our seniors. They have been proud of themselves for pushing through what they have gone through and putting out the routine. I was nervous that they were going to say three weeks isn’t worth it, but they are so incredibly dedicated. They have put in the time over the years and they weren’t going to let anything stop them.”

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