Cheerleading has been an official sport for six years. The Seaford program has been the benchmark for other programs, winning a total of five Nassau titles.
The Vikings earned a state championship with the highest score of the day regardless of classification in 2022 in Large Varsity Division II. Senior captain Miranda Montes is the main base this season and she is a force of strength, positivity, and motivation. She is heavily relied on to help her team hit the hardest super elite skills and tumbling. Senior captain Kayla Fallarino-Forte is a five-year flyer, who beautifully executes super elite skills and tumbling passes.
2. SACHEM NORTH
This program has been a contender since cheer became a sport in 2017. They won the Suffolk title and moved on to win the 2022 NYSPHSAA championship in Small Varsity Division I. This year they compete in the Large Varsity Division I category in the state and began the year with two first-place meet finishes. They also placed first at the UCA Regional event held in December. Most of the team is young, with 12 underclassmen on the 22-member roster. The team is led by seniors, Madison Bulzoni (Flyer), Adrianna Sigler (Back Spot) and Julianna Serrano (Main Base).
MacArthur has been a consistent powerhouse on Long Island for two decades winning multiple county championships and a New York State title in the Large Varsity Division I in 2022. MacArthur has already earned two championship titles for UCA's Game Day with a score of 96 out of 100 and earned a bid to compete on the national level in February. This team continually executes some of the best partner stunts, pyramids and tumbling passes in the state and proves to be adaptable as they have moved from the All-Girl Large division to the Co-Ed division with 26 athletes performing on the mat. This team is led by a triumvirate of athletes: Main base and senior-captain Kelly O’Leary, junior secondary base and super elite tumbler Stephanie Cheswick and up and coming sophomore-captain and elite flyer Gabriella Raia.
4. MOUNT SINAI
Mount Sinai cheerleading has proven to be a dominating force in the Long Island cheerleading community. Their accolades speak for themselves. The Mustangs hold the record for most state championships with four in 2016, 2019, 2021 and 2022. They’ve also earned three UCA National championships in 2014, 2016 and 2019, nine regional crowns and six Suffolk titles. Though the championships drive the team they also love to create a positive atmosphere during the competition season – this program is a winner all around.
Wantagh and its three returning captains will try and defend their 2022 Nassau title in Small Varsity Division II. The team has more depth this year and added a fourth stunt group to their routine to showcase the talented group of 18 performing. The team is led by captains Jessica Balkunas, Ava Lombardo and Emily Drago who are all long-time varsity members. Wantagh’s is in search of its sixth Nassau crown.
6. ROCKY POINT
The year-round training has enabled the Eagles to compete at the highest level.
First-year coach Alexa Bennett-Rosman has taken the reigns and the program has not skipped a beat. Rocky Point has the highest overall average score in Suffolk thus far. The four-time UCA National Champions (2011, 2012, 2014, 2020) and four-time Suffolk champions (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) will compete in Small Varsity Division II. The Eagles are led by seniors Alyssa Rubinetti and Emily Loughlin, two veteran cheerleaders, who won the National title together in 2020.
The two-time defending Nassau champions in Small Varsity Division I won the first three competitions of the season in December and received two bids to the UCA Nationals for their Traditional and Gameday routines at the Empire Regional. This year’s team has exceptional tumbling and stunting ability and execution, with their strength being a brilliant overall presence on the mat. Senior Amanda Martinez in the long back spot and junior flyer Angela Galvan bring four years of leadership and experience to an extremely young, talented group.
The Eagles are always in the mix for the Suffolk crown. They earned the Small Varsity Division I State championship in 2020 and finished third at the UCA Nationals. The 2022 program found itself in a rebuilding phase and the team is back performing super elite skill behind senior captains Stella Manikas and Natalee Manteiga. The Eagles execute tumbling skills and stunts that are college level with great technique.
The Pirates continue to climb into the upper echelon of cheerleading on Long Island. They moved into the Small Varsity Division I this season and finished first out of an exceptionally competitive division of 21 teams at UCA Regionals. The team is headed back to UCA Nationals in Orlando, Florida with a title bid. The Pirates were second in 2022 in Nassau and ready to grab the crown this season.
10. WARD MELVILLE
Ward Melville has taken the leap into the top 10 this season. The Patriots just won the regional championship this past December in both the Traditional Small Varsity Division I and Small Varsity Coed Game Day Division. This accomplishment marks an historical moment in program history, the first time this has been done. The team is led by seniors Kiera Wheeler, Isabella Markarian and Emily Santana.
The Red Devils have earned three Nassau titles and top five place-finishes in state competition in the past five years. Led by senior captains Sara Reise and Julia Zarra in Small Varsity Division II, Plainedge will again compete for a spot in the state competition. In February of 2022, Plainedge took third place in Small Varsity Division II at the High School Nationals in Orlando. Plainedge competes with both super elite stunts and tumbling skills in their routine.
12. SACHEM EAST
The last two years have seen a resurgence in the traditionally strong Sachem East program. They were crowned Large Varsity Division Suffolk champions and were a state finalist in 2022. Senior captains Brianna Snyder, a flyer, and Erika Palermo, a Back Spot, are both five-year varsity athletes and lead this year’s team.
The last two years have seen a tremendous amount of success to the Division program. They finished second in Nassau in 2022 in Small Varsity Division II with no graduating seniors. They began this season by winning the New York State Game Day East Invitational Championship in Arlington. From there, they earned national bids at Regionals in both Game Day and Traditional routines led by All-Long Island selection Sofia Rella, a senior captain.
14. SMITHTOWN WEST
The coaches call the girls in this program rockstar senior athletes. Do we need say more; Jessica Amado at Backspot, Brianna Misser at Flyer, Julianna Morris at Main Base, Julia LaRocco at Side Base, Lauren Vercillo at Main Base, Brianna Donnarumma at Side Base and Ella Sanacore at Side Base. They’ll compete in Large Varsity Division I. The group has been together since freshman year.
The Lions are an emerging program in cheerleading. They won the first competition of the year competing in Small Varsity Division I. They placed third at the UCA Pocono Regionals to earn a bid to the nationals. Rosalina Battagliola, a senior and a main base, is the leader.
Honorable mention: Massapequa, Connetquot, Shoreham Wading River, Smithtown East, West Babylon, Centereach.