Rocky Point, Mount Sinai tie for Suffolk cheer title
Six cheerleading squads will represent the five divisions in Suffolk at the state championships, the result of the first-ever tie at the county championship, which dates to 2016.
The two decorated programs of Rocky Point and Mount Sinai were both crowned Division II Small School county champions and awarded spots to compete for the state title.
“This is the best thing that could happen,” Mount Sinai co-coach Matthew Kenefick said. “Rocky Point is such an amazing team and it’s a great thing that we’re both able to continue our seasons together.”
“Both teams are incredibly talented and absolutely deserved this opportunity to compete at states,” Rocky Point coach Alexa Bennett-Rosman said.
The two troupes competed with nearly seamless routines at Newfield High School in Centereach on Saturday, both finishing with a 92.8. It was Rocky Point’s first title since 2019 and Mount Sinai’s seventh county crown.
“It’s a lot of pressure to stay on top but we remind them that the pressure is a privilege,” Mount Sinai co-coach Megan Wesolowski said. “The tie was a shock, but the girls are really more excited than anything.”
Another squad shocked by the results was Smithtown West. The cheerleaders put out a clean performance but weren’t expecting to receive the top mark in the Division I Large School category.
“This is a dream come true,” senior flyer Brianna Misser said. “We took home a national championship last week in the Game Day division and that was a big surprise, but this was even more so.”
The team’s winning performance at the national championship inspired coach Kristen Perri to incorporate aspects of the Game Day routine into Saturday’s routine.
“We became the first team from Long Island to bring home a national title in the Game Day division and I think it really fueled the girls. That routine won us a national title, so we decided to keep the flags in today’s routine,” Perri said. “Now it helped us win the program’s first county championship.”
Smithtown West wasn’t alone in winning its first county title. Floyd’s coed squad followed a nearly undefeated season with its first county crown.
“We were determined to grow every week and put in the hard work to get to this point,” base Julia Marino said. “This is our second year in the coed division, and we knew we had to improve this season to be at the top.”
“I think the biggest component of our teams’ success was how often we would make changes to our routine throughout the season,” Zaida Wilkins said. “We realized what worked and what didn’t work, and it led to us perfecting our routine week by week so we could dominate today.”
The pyramid stunts were where the team knew they could have an edge over opponents.
“There were a lot of changes to our pyramid which can be difficult to adapt to, but we knew how crucial it was to improve our execution score,” Jenn Revera said.
More improvement also came for the East Islip squad. After placing second at the county championships last season, the team was determined to dominate the Division I Small School category this time, finishing with a 90.8. Hauppauge was second with an 87.7.
“There’s a lot of competition in this division,” Sofia Costarelli said. “We tied with Hauppauge at nationals last week, so we knew they would be a difficult team to defeat here at counties, but we didn’t let it shake us.”
A fall in the first stunt didn’t shake the squad, either. The two-point deduction would be the only flaw of the routine.
“We were able to recover like nothing ever happened,” Costarelli said. “I think we just wanted this more than anything after coming up short last season and it pushed us like we’ve never been before.”
Shoreham Wading River followed its previous season with a back-to-back Division II Large School crown, the program’s second county title.
“This is the strongest year we’ve had, and it showed today,” Juliana Lautato said. “We wanted to put our all into the routine and prove that we deserve to be at states again.”
The state championships will be at Visions Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton on March 4.