With the music blaring and the crowd cheering, the Freeport gymnasium had plenty of noise Saturday afternoon.
But when the Red Devils’ cheerleading team foot on the mat, it felt like the roof was going to blow off the place.
“All the nerves went away, and the excitement rushed through my body,” Daniela Hernandez said. “It was all adrenaline.”
Freeport fed off its home crowd and executed a flawless routine to win the Nassau Co-ed title at the Freeport Cheerleading Competition, finishing ahead of West Hempstead.
It was a bounce back performance for a team that struggled in its previous event.
“We are adding difficulty every week, and added difficulty again this week so that we would be in the super elite category for everything,” Freeport coach Laurie Kolodny said. “Bad weeks happen, and you learn from it and grow from it.”
The Red Devils fought through an injury to their center fly and overcame a challenging week to earn the top spot.
“Practices were kind of stressful because we were trying to figure things out,” Anthony Peralta said. “As long as we hit a clean routine that’s all I worry about. It doesn’t matter if we get first or second.”
Freeport wasn’t the only victorious Red Devils team on Saturday.
Before Freeport took the floor, Plainedge showed off its skills resulting in a Nassau Division II small school title. The Wantagh cheer team earned second place in the event.
“With the injuries we had, a lot of girls were coming in and out and we had to switch around groups,” Plainedge’s Alexandra Meule said. “It was a challenge to make a connection, but we were able to come together.”
Although its stunts weren’t as perfect as they could have been, Plainedge coach Marie Esposito came away pleased with the way her team competed.
“I think we have one of the hardest divisions in Nassau,” she said. “Even with one little mistake they still were able to win because they know how to recover and lean on the energy of the fans.”
The Seaford cheerleaders electrified those in attendance with a dazzling performance, and captured the Division II small school, large varsity title. Bethpage was second.
“Everyone is hurting, but we all know that it’s worth it at the end of the day,” Seaford’s Julia Galante said.
Saturday’s competition was just the first of two for the Vikings this weekend. They will be heading to Bridgewater, New Jersey, on Sunday to participate in the Garden State Championship.
“We wanted to come in prepared and carry some momentum into [Sunday],” Maggie Brolly said. “We are hoping to go in there and have another strong showing.”
The stellar routines didn’t stop there.
Farmingdale continued to dominate the Division I large school, large varsity section, and remained perfect by capturing its fifth title in five competitions this season.
Not too shabby for a team that has been competing for just three years. Garden City placed second in the event.
“We try not to get too comfortable and push ourselves as much as we can,” Kiersten Hacker said. “It really amazes me every day how much these girls work for everything we have.”
“A win like this is really rewarding,” Jaeda Wallick said. “Our school doesn’t know too much about cheerleading, so when we do get first place it’s a really exciting feeling to know we are making a name for ourselves.”