The Smithtown West cheerleading team is focused on its climb to the top, using the motto “Moving Mountains” as motivation.
The team made progress toward its goal Saturday morning, placing first among 13 teams in Hauppauge’s small varsity Division I competition.
Smithtown East took second, followed by Hauppauge, Longwood and Kings Park.
“The strategy today was to hit all our changes that we made since the last time we competed, and that’s what we did,” coach Kristen Perri said.
Now 3-0, Smithtown West is hoping to avoid the way last year ended. Despite a trip to the national championships at Disney World in Orlando, the team did not compete the way it would have liked.
Consider that even more fuel to move mountains this year.
“We definitely use that as motivation to do better this year because we want to end our season year with a bang, and we definitely are,” senior Lizzie Cristello said.
Added fellow senior Katie Byrnes: “Last year, we didn’t do as well as we wanted. So this year, the goal is to get back to the finals mat and have fun no matter what happens.”
The experience of underperforming has given Smithtown West the awareness of what it takes to succeed against the country’s best programs.
Now, the Bulls are implementing techniques into their routines to give them an edge against local, regional and national competition.
Perri said they recently added 540s, heel stretches and other maneuvers into a routine that has increased its difficulty from the beginning of the season. Despite the higher difficulty, the Bulls responded well with a nearly flawless performance in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Hauppauge.
“Every week at practice we always remember that we don’t want that feeling again,” senior Shannon Pratt said.
To avoid that same experience means making the occasional sacrifice. Both Byrnes and Halle Rosen competed through injuries, and while Rosen admitted to feeling some pain after the awards ceremony, she said its part of what she has to do as a member of the team.
“I am [hurting], but it’s better to push through it so you know that at the end of the day, you did what you had to do,” the senior said.
“Moving Mountains” means something a little different to each member of the team, but the overarching theme tends to be the same. “It means to overcome the obstacles we have and get past them and work together,” Rosen said.
With compact routines at an increased difficulty and the willingness to do whatever’s necessary, Smithtown West could very well move those mountains come February.