William Gorman knew what he was walking into when he decided to go out for the Mount Sinai High School cheerleading team. Tryouts were a little uncomfortable. Practices were a little awkward. The first competition caused a little apprehension.
But true to his craft, Gorman endured each new challenge with a smile.
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“He’s handled everything in such an awesome way to get to this point,” Mount Sinai cheerleading coach Samantha Melella said. “He’s gotten stronger, he’s gotten more confident and he’s proven to be an unbelievable cheerleader.”
Three years after he dedicated himself to the Mount Sinai cheer program, Gorman now is an elite base, a state-title winner and Newsday’s Cheerleader of the Year.
“All the obstacles and challenges you face don’t really affect you as much when you love what you do and love your team,” Gorman said.
When Gorman was three, his mother brought him to a gymnastics class after he was “flipping from the staircase into the living room,” he said. His involvement in the sport gradually picked up until he stopped in 2011. That’s when his cousin, Nicole Wienclaw, a former cheerleader for Mount Sinai, told him about an opening on the team.
“She didn’t have to do a lot of convincing,” Gorman said.
Though the two sports don’t require exactly the same skill set, there is some overlap, and Gorman took advantage.
“Looking back on it,” Gorman said, “establishing some of the skills that I first learned in gymnastics helped me to do what I do now in cheerleading.”
Gorman spent three years on junior varsity before moving up to varsity as a junior last year.
“It was a little awkward at first,” he said, “but as you spend hours upon hours and weeks upon weeks with the team, they become like family. Not a big deal anymore.”
Now, the only big deal is Gorman, although you wouldn’t know it from speaking with him.
“The coolest thing about Will is that he’s super humble,” Melella said. “You can give him a thousand compliments and he stays humble through it all.”
It has helped that Gorman, who aspires to coach cheerleading after college, is able to quickly mesh with any personality type.
“A lot of times, there are people who only work with certain people. Will’s not like that,” Melella said. “Will’s versatile where he can work with any person you give him, any flyer you give him, he’s able to adjust according to that flyer or according to a different personality.”
It’s a large part of why Gorman has developed such an intense passion for the sport just a few years after he was first exposed to it.
“In cheer, it’s about you and your trust in your teammates,” he said. “I like that. When you win like we did, it becomes something very special.”