Meet Newsday's All-Long Island cheerleading team for the 2019-2020 winter season.
Newsday Cheerleader of the Year: Jordan Gilbert, Seaford, Sr.
No one flies like Jordan Gilbert. The six-year flyer has been a vital part of the Vikings' success since the seventh grade. The elite tumbler and super elite stunt machine is also a two-time All-LI cheerleader. This year, she led Seaford to its fourth consecutive Nassau Large Division II championship and within .3 points of a state crown.
Suffolk Cheerleader of the Year: Alexa Waters, Hauppauge, Jr.
There is a reason why the Hauppauge cheer team can take risks and perform elite stunting skills in national competition. And it all starts with Waters, the squad's main base. Waters led Hauppauge to consecutive Suffolk championships and this year to the Small Division I state championship at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Maggie Brolly, Seaford, Sr.
She is one of the best back-spot positions to come out of Seaford. She can hit a super elite stunt and keep it in the air for as long as the team needs her to, which takes the Vikings to the next level in competition. She excels with backhand spring ups and released roundoffs. Brolly, a captain, is also an elite tumbler.
Madison Colonna, Sachem North, Sr.
A fearless four-year varsity flyer who can perform elite skills, including double ups, released roundoff ups, high to highs and tic toc full arounds. She can also perform the most elite tumbling skills with perfection in her technique and execution while throwing roundoff back handspring fulls and hand, hand fulls.
Emily Darvid, Division, Sr.
The all-around leader of the Blue Dragons is a dream athlete. She's a combination of a fantastic skillset, coachable and has passion` for the sport. The naturally talented Darvid is a team leader and played a vital role in Division's success.
Alexa DiBenedetto, Hauppauge, Jr.
DiBenedetto competed and hit all the newest and most difficult stunts this season. The three-year flyer was able to perform a hand-to-hands to the top, back handspring ups to one leg to the top, switch up full ups and quick toss full ups. She was a key component in the Eagles' Suffolk and state championship runs.
Joliene Ewan, West Babylon, Sr.
The University of Alabama commit led the Eagles to the Suffolk Large Division I championship as a main base. She has super elite tumbling and stunting skills, including cartwheel full, standing tuck, double up and two-man 360 to Liberty.
Arianna Furbush, Mount Sinai, Jr.
The three-year flyer processes strong flying skills and lights up the mat when she performs. She's up for any challenge and played an essential part in the Mustangs' march to the Suffolk and state championships.
Olivia Gay, Hauppauge, Sr.
The side base is a captain and a three-year member of the varsity. She played a akey role in her team winning the Suffolk and state championships. She competed and hit all the newest and most difficult stunts, such as hand to hands to the top, back handspring ups to one leg to the top and switch up full ups. Her super elite stunting skills, leadership and positive attitude carried the Eagles to success.
Isabella Koudelka, Kellenberg, Jr.
This is a powerhouse main base, who has impressive tumbling skills, including a standing and running full. Koudelka is a true leader, member of the National Honor Society and captain of the Firebirds cheer team.
Calista MacArthur, Rocky Point, Sr.
The main base in an extremely successful program at Rocky Point. She's been a varsity letterman since the eighth grade. She is an exceptional athlete, one of the best to come through the Eagles program. She is outstanding in her stunts and consistently hits her entire routine.
Diana Maughan, Farmingdale, Sr.
The playmaker, if you will, in the Dalers' run to the Nassau and state Large Division I championships. She played a key role as her leadership skills and positive attitude carried the team through times of adversity.
Anthony Peralta, Freeport, Sr.
The varsity captain has coed skills at the college level, tossing to extensions, liberties and heel stretches, coed stunting in pyramids, and back spotting in stunts that were considered among the most difficult in the state. He is an elite tumbler, has incredible jumps, and he is admired and respected for his overall presence on the mat. He led the Red Devils to a Nassau coed title.
Michelle Tallini, Sachem North, Sr.
The main base for the Flaming Arrows is a four-year varsity member. She has accomplished the task of being a main base, side base and even a flyer throughout her career - pretty incredible. She has elite skills, including released roundoff ups, double-ups and high to high full arounds.
Suffolk Coach of the Year: Laura Candela, Hauppauge
In her 14th year, Candela guided the Eagles to the Small Division I state championship at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Hauppauge, a top-two team in Suffolk for eight years, was on top this winter because of the Eagles' extraordinary stunting skills. The Eagles won the LI title in 2012 and 2015 and the Suffolk crown in 2019 and 2020.
Nassau Coach of the Year: Caitlin Weinsheimer, Farmingdale
In her first full year as coach, Farmingdale earned the state Large Division I state title. The Dalers also won the Nassau Large Division I crown. It was the Dalers' first crown in cheer.