For the first time in Briarcliff history, the high school cheerleaders competed at the national level at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
The success of the Briarcliff cheerleading team did not happen overnight. It took intense effort from and connectivity between all of its members in order for the team to perform its best at Nationals. Trust among the members of a cheer squad is crucial in order to properly execute their stunts, and the captains clearly make that one of their priorities.
“It really all comes down to trust and the bond,” said captain Frankie Paone. “There’s no one person who can do it all.”
The monumental moment recognized the hard work and dedication everyone on the cheerleading team put in to allow this dream to become a reality. Bringing everyone together is what allows a team to maintain cohesive performances and create strong relationships not only on the mats but on the sidelines as well. Captains Frankie Paone, Lindsey Heier and Rebeka Walker were proud of their performance at Nationals and felt they left everything on the mat.
“We won for us…we beat our record,” said Paone.
While the team and community celebrated the accomplishment of making Nationals, the cheerleaders still had a major competition to in front of them. Unfortunately, they came up just short. “We were one third of a point from qualifying for the finals, so we were just there,” said Lindsey Heier. The scores came down to tenths of a point to determine who would move on and who would not make the cut. The scoring system evaluates various categories including a team’s stunts, dance, crowd appeal and the execution of motions, adding up to a total of 100 points. “We were five points away from first, and we came in eleventh, so that shows how close everyone was,” said Paone.
Despite the excruciatingly close miss, the focus for the Briarcliff cheerleading team did not seem to be on the score itself, but on how well they thought they performed as a team. “I think everyone was just happy that we went out there, hit everything
and made it look good,” said Rebeka Walker.
The captains say they are satisfied with their results but are also mindful of things their team can work on for next competition season. “The way we executed it could have been better, and our words could have been louder; there are just different little things that we could have made better,” said Walker.
The captains will bid farewell to their cheer team and move on to the next chapter of their lives but will not forget this unforgettable run. “We’ve all been on the team for at least four years, and we’ve always talked about going to nationals,” said Rebeka Walker. Forget talking about going to Nationals. They went to Nationals.