Hauppauge Cheerleading


Victoria Sordi, Writer

Over the summer the Hauppauge Cheer Organization opens up a cheer camp to learn some cheer skills and get used to the surroundings. The camp is open to grade levels of 6th-12th. This is a way for coaches and other teammates from the teams before to look out for some other kids who would be a good fit for middle school, Junior Varsity, and Varsity. Varsity can pull up from seventh grade and on from middle school. This year our varsity coach decided to pull up seventh-grader Krista Cummo. Coach Laura Alonzo has been the coach for Hauppauge’s Varsity Cheer team for a very long time and knows talent when she sees it. Since Krista is in seventh grade she can compete in local competitions. But, she can not compete at Nationals or Regionals. Regionals are where teams from all over New York come to one competition and do a showcase for a line of judges. The judges decide whether the team is good enough to compete in Disney for Nationals or not. Even if the team is not at its full potential as long as the judge believes they can get there you will get a bid. Which is like a golden ticket to Disney just like the golden ticket on America’s Got Talent. 

Some people still do not consider cheerleading a sport, but I have one question for those. Would you be able to do a full routine of yelling, tumbling, stunting, and all while not running out of breath? After you get tired from doing a tumbling pass and making sure you stick your landing perfectly then you go into a stunt. Make sure you remember everything at that moment while your heart is racing. Think of all the corrections you have ever heard to make sure you do not drop your stunt. Because if you drop your stunt, you are the reason your team failed. And that is a lot of pressure to be thinking about in a span of 2 minutes. Then goes the cheer, the most important part of the whole routine you are performing. After feeling like you have no breath left in you, now you have to yell your lungs out. Put on a smile and sell the show. Your adrenaline has almost run out and when the cheer comes and you hear the crowd yelling back; your adrenaline comes rushing back. It is an ultimate high performed on that mat in front of such a big crowd. 

During COVID there have been a lot of difficult scenarios as a team, we have had to face. In a normal season you are just worried about someone breaking a bone or getting a concussion, but now everyone seems fine and then the next day three girls are out with covid. So instead of working our routine, we are figuring out how to change the routine to fit the limited number of people. Having to learn how to work around the obstacles that get thrown our way. Then a girl got a stomach bug and we needed someone to learn her spot for the day or two it took for her to get back. Therefore, we wouldn’t be held up learning and trying to do better. Every week it is always something nice that needs to be changed. And it almost always has to do with someone being sick. Currently, right now we have a girl out for covid and we have a competition this weekend and have to redo both of our pyramids in our routine and go down to two main stunts instead of three. This is helping us as a team to prepare for nationals. This is teaching us how to work together and face obstacles and learn new skills. And learning how to handle the pressure of time running out and you need to make things work right now. Right here, at this moment. We are still learning skills in stunts and tumbling to gain a higher score. It is not always about where you place, but we know we can do better. We can do better and we will. When we figure out each other, if something is not working, the stunt group knows each other well enough to know the next move of each other and to help; without even speaking.

The amount of moving around we have done. We have learned from each other to do our best because there is always someone working twice as hard and right behind you. The most important is the stunts when it comes to talent. Elite stunts are better than elite tumbling. Coach has moved stunt groups and people around to make the routine and skill level the best it possibly can be. Now we are hitting stunts we weren’t before, but now that we are comfortable with these stunts that we will up our stunt level and become up higher. Christiana Copp a 12th grader and a member of the varsity team for three years says, “Our team this year has learned how to work together and build a bond on how to communicate with each other when it comes to a stunt.”  Christiana’s stunt group when watching them and someone is not doing what they are supposed to be doing it can be because of tiredness or laziness. But, they watch each other’s hands and figure out how to work with each other without even speaking. They just know to do whatever they can to keep it up.

Sasha Gladle a sophomore who has been a member of the Varsity cheer team for two years says, “learning different positions and help in the long run and especially now with covid and people being moved around.” Sasha is able to base and back, and she is good at both positions. Wherever you throw her she will be able to do the job. Sasha was a back for the entire routine then either stunt weren’t hitting to our liking or we wanted to do harder stunts, or people got covid. Sasha was able to fill in for all. Now she is everywhere, I would not even be able to tell you where she is in the routine. She started off backing the third stunt group, then Gina Vaughan came in and backed and Sasha based. And now she is in the middle group of the pyramid doing the hardest part of the pyramid. Our captains this year are Natalee Manteiga, Stella Manikas, and Nicole Sahaidachny; they were all pulled up in eighth grade. Over the years they have become closer as friends which helps the team because they are not afraid to speak their minds on who’s doing what. They are not afraid to take people off the mat to benefit the overall team. They will do anything to help the team and do the best we can at the highest level. Nicole and Krista are the two with the highest tumbling. There are more girls working on their fulls and they are close. Nicole is a captain with a full she can help other teammates get over the fear of tumbling. Because she has been there with the high level of tumbling skills she has. Natalee and Stella know what it is like to know when to laugh and when to be serious. They can give their talks and boost up our team’s confidence into doing better by one talk. That one talk will turn the whole thing around. They have taught the team one important lesson, that as long as you are having fun then you will do good on the mat. If you are stressed out, you will be so overwhelmed that you will overthink everything and the routine will not come out well. As long as you are confident, the crowd and judges will see that and it will resonate with you. 

Hauppauge Cheerleading is a fantastic organization that I’ve been a part of since sixth grade and have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. This team has presented me with a terrific experience that I will never forget, with all of our achievements and laughs. Without my teammates and coaches, we would not be the team we are today. I’m looking forward to making many more memories in the future. Watch out for Hauppauge at Nationals.