A Look Back at 2018-2019 Somers Cheerleading Championship Season

by Rich Monetti 10 months ago in culture

Somers Cheerleading Wins Westchester County Cheerleading Invitational and Looks to the States

A Look Back at 2018-2019 Somers Cheerleading Championship Season
Photo Courtesy of Jenna Crispo

The Somers Cheerleading Squad just won the Westchester County Cheerleading Invitational at the County Center. Competing in the mixed division, the 20 member team - including James LaRocca - finished first among the four teams competing.

“The team has come a long way,” said coach Jenna Crispo.

At the helm in her third year, the team barely got off their feet at the beginning. “I started from the ground,” said Crispo. “We took whoever we could - even those with low cheerleading experience or athletic ability.

Nonetheless, she’s proud of how those original kids have stayed on and taken flight. “They’ve really worked their way up,” said Crispo.

So going into the fall season, Crispo knew the potential was there and reaching the next level meant a three day cheerleading camp in October. Skills taught at the Pocono sleep away, a routine developed around what the group could do as a whole.

Back home, the level of difficulty advanced in practice, and a choreographer helped evolve the two and half minute routine. “What we were doing early on is way different than what we are doing now,” said Crispo.

Of course, really stepping up has no better teacher than competition, and the team really turned over after first taking to the mat competitively. “There were stunts that were failing in practice which we were hitting,” said Main Base Brianna Scottino. “So I knew we had the potential to do anything.”

Reaching those heights, though, requires a team connection that goes beyond providing help defense in basketball or backing up first base. “You definitely need to have a great bond in order to put all your trust in your bases - especially when you’re falling from such a high elevation,” said the All-County Cheerleader.

The addition, three years ago of James - who had no experience - proved not to be a downfall either. Winning the Annette Hroncich Cheer scholarship, Crispo said, “He has become the face of Somers Cheerleading.”

Scottino sees the fit in a more exacting fashion. “He’s like a puzzle piece that has helped us put this all together,” asserted Scottino, who won the top score award at the WPDRCC Fall Conference Championships in November.

The payoff began when Somers won a two team competition in September. But the All-Section Conference Championships at Hen Hud proved a better judge of their ability. “We came in first for our coed division,” said Crispo.

Like any champion, the team and their coach weren't shy about strutting the achievement. The same goes for the take home prize. “I was very excited to get that banner. The kids wanted one,” said Crispo. “I definitely wanted one, and it’s fun to see it up in our gym.”

But more importantly, winning allowed the Tuskers to see where they stacked up at the next level. “Moving into winter,” said Crispo, “we started off in a regional competition for the whole northeast.”

Unfortunately, Somers did not qualify for the Nationals in Orlando but the team used the bigger stage to redirect their efforts. “We said, ‘let’s focus on our local goals,’” said Crispo.

Somers went onto capture second place at North Rockland’s cheerleading tournament and then won tournaments at Eastchester and Mahopac High Schools. So the springboard was in place for winning its four team division at the County Center.

Once again, winning meant the squad got to see how they stacked up against better competition, and just because Somers did not place among 35 teams at the Invitational, it doesn’t translate to loss. “The big thing for us is we got to go to the championship rounds,” said Crispo.

The formula in place, she hopes the experience provides another springboard that leads to a State Tournament berth in March.

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Rich Monetti
Rich Monetti
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