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Cheerleaders Win National Competition

Wayne Valley competitive team beats rival by a half point to win big at national competition.

Classmates, teammates, and now, national champions.

The  competitive cheerleading team beat out 29 other teams at the annual AmeriCheer International Championship held in Florida this week. Teams were grouped by their size.The team came in second place to Notre Dame High School from Niles, Ill. for three straight years before beating them by a half point this year.

“I can’t think of a better way to end it,” said Michelle Rosa, a senior and one of the team's five co-captains. She is the only participant who has cheered in the competition for four consecutive years. “It’s something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.”

The 25-member team season begins practicing in August and begins entering competitions in December.

“Every year I’ve seen the program get better and better,” said coach Jennifer Pulizzano, who has coached the team since it was founded in 2004.  Rosa and fellow co-captain Stephanie Dorgan have been cheering together since the first grade.

Pulizzano cares more about how the girls learn and grow together as a team and mature as young women more than winning.

This year proved to be especially challenging for Pulizzano and her team. Ten new girls joined and a few others were out of competitions with injuries.

“You start wondering ‘okay, where do I start’,” Pulizzano said. “But they worked hard and progressed quickly and look at what we have to show for it now.”

Competitive cheerleading is very different from traditional cheerleading. Routines are very choreographed and contain lots of stunts. They are brief, only about two and a half minutes long, but intense.

“I put more effort into that two and a half minutes than I do into a 90-minute long soccer game,” said co-captain Johnna Ellis. “I’m exhausted afterwards, but that’s what’s so rewarding about it. Knowing that we’re all like that when a routine is done means we all gave our best.”

The team has enjoyed a lot of success this season. The girls placed first in six out of 10 competitions, including one they hosted at Wayne Valley last weekend and at the in January. The team finished earlier this month.

The sense of comrade, of sisterhood, together with the absence of selfishness, is necessary for a competitive cheerleading team to succeed.

“If one girl goes out on a mat and starts thinking about herself, that’s when you see the downfall of a routine,” Pulizzano said. “You have to have one heart when you go out there. That’s what these girls have, that’s why they won, and that’s why I’m so proud of them.”

Al Scala March 23, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Congratulations to the Wayne Valley cheerleaders.. This is a wonderful accomplishment, one to be very proud of. Thank you for your hard work and dedication toward this effort.
Donna March 23, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Congratulations to all of you!!! Jenn, you have really done a great job year after year with the girls and finally you received the highest achievement yet....a National WIN!!!
pam roz March 23, 2012 at 12:30 PM
It's great to see a local team reach the pinnacle of its sport and achieve their ultimate goal as the result of teamwork and commitment. Great job, congrats!
star March 23, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Congrats to all of the cheerleaders & coaches. You all deserve it. You earned it with hard work, determination & love. WVCC will be in my heart forever!!
jamie devisser March 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Congratulations on an Amazing Win, the girls and coaches gave 100% to this sport their hard work ,detemination, and a positive winning attitude proved to be what it took to be International Champions!
Michelle March 23, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Great job to all! Was a great moment hearing WVCC win first place. I'm so proud of the team, the coaches and all the support the parents give. One heart, I like that.
leanbean March 23, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Great job.Congratulations to all of you
Lori March 27, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Wow! Very impressive great job! Congrats Jordyn and the entire team and coaches.

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