NEWSDAY'S CHEERLEADER OF THE YEAR
Mount Sinai, Senior
Takacs may have a quiet demeanor but that disappears once competition begins. She’s a five-year member of the squad who earned the captain title this year. She’s helped lead the Mustangs to two state championships and two Nationals titles. She’s an elite tumbler and a strong back. Off the mat, Takacs tutors and participates in fundraisers for breast cancer research.
Nassau Cheerleader of the Year
Gilbert was the first and only seventh grader to be pulled up to varsity for the Vikings and she shows the crowd why every time she steps on the mat. She’s been a captain since sophomore year and “leads the team with dignity and grace” according to coach Lisa Ferrari. Gilbert is working on her Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts. Her main focus with the Scouts is bullying prevention. As someone who was bullied in the past, Gilbert turned her hardship into a teaching moment. She’s created videos about bullying and provides an outlet for younger troops, other cheerleaders and elementary school students.
THE ALL-LONG ISLAND TEAM
Smithtown East, Junior
Alma’s goal this year was to encourage her teammates to do better than the day before. She helped the Bulls do just leading them to a county title. Besides assisting her teammates, she volunteers with the Saint James/Nesconset Youth Cheerleading program. She also organized coat drives through a local church, raised money for a child battling Leukemia and adopted a family during the holidays.
Apisa was an All-Long Islander last year and continues to be an essential component to his team. He’s a strong base, throwing his flyers high, and an elite tumbler. He assists in coaching the Connetquot Youth Cheerleading team. He volunteers for Safe Halloween, worked on a fashion show fundraiser for local police and fireman and made cupcakes for law enforcement at the 9/11 Memorial.
Although this is her first year on the team, Avena cheers like a veteran. According to her coach, “she’s been a huge asset” to the Wantagh cheerleading program from middle school to JV to Varsity. Avena is also on the track and field team. She’s a member of Mathletes and volunteers at Camp ANCHOR, coordinating games and activities for children and adults with special needs.
Beuchert is a leader on and off the mat. She’s been a member of the squad since freshman year and earned the captain title this year. Beuchert volunteers with the Hauppauge Youth Organization where she teaches cheerleading fundamentals to younger girls. She also helps younger classmen assimilate to high school life through a program called Ignition and Natural Helpers.
West Babylon, Junior
Ewan has elite tumbling and stunting skills which earned her the captain title this year. She helped lead the team to a county title in 2017 and a third place win this year. Her tumbling includes a standing tuck and a hand-to-hand full. When she isn’t cheering, Ewan dedicates her time to raising money and awareness for Leukemia through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Light the Night Society. She’s gotten the team involved the last two years and the West Babylon student body.
Rocky Point, Senior
The flyer joined the team in seventh grade and has excelled ever year since. She’s the only six-year varsity cheerleader in Rocky Point history and last season she was named Suffolk Cheerleader of the Year. She helped lead the Eagles to two straight undefeated seasons, four county titles and finally a state title this year. When Ferrara isn’t perfecting her skills or cheering her teammates on, she’s coaching children ages five through 12 at Kiddie Cheer Clinics. She also takes part in the “Pack the Track” event, a huge fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Mount Sinai, Senior
Legaspi is a vital asset to the Mustangs. She’s a versatile cheerleader, who’s changed positions throughout the years, excelling in each spot. Legaspi has also helped lead the Mustangs to two state titles and two National titles. She’ll do whatever it takes to stick her stunts and her passion for cheerleading is contagious. Off the mat, she volunteers for breast cancer fundraising.
Mileo is a five-year member of the varsity team and a captain for the past two years. She’s an AP and honors student involved in Art Club and the Human Relations Club. She’s participated in several “service activities” such as Dollars for Scholars and Breast Cancer awareness.
Welsch is two-sport athlete. The flyer/tumbler a four-year member of the squad, earning the captain spot this year, and she’s also a six-year member of the gymnastics team. Welsch volunteers at the Special Olympics at her school and cheers during the Bethpage’s Challenger Basketball game.
Sachem North, Senior
With two difficult tumbling passes in her back pocket, a hand-to-hand full and round off back hand spring full, Wruck is the complete package for the Flaming Arrows. She helped lead the team to their first county title last season and did the same this year. She’s a reliable back and a bold presence on the mat. Outside of cheerleading, Wruck is a member of the Senior Freshman Mentoring club, which helps ease freshman into high school life. She’s volunteered at food drives and multiple Breast Cancer walks.
NASSAU COACH OF THE YEAR
Lisa Ferrari, Seaford
Ferrari has coached Seaford for the past 11 years. In that time, Seaford has grown as a program. They are three-time county champions and earned a third place in the state championship this year, up from fourth place.
SUFFOLK COACH OF THE YEAR
Christina Lotito, Mount Sinai
Lotito, in her first year at Mt. Sinai, helped lead the Mustangs to another state and Nationals title.
THE ALL-LI SECOND TEAM
Alyssa Brand, Island Trees, Senior
Lauren Sicker, Massapequa, Senior
Alexa Poplawski, Oceanside, Soph.
Sirena Brown, West Hempstead, Senior
Hanna Harris, Babylon, Junior
Alexis Reino, Hauppauge, Senior
Julia Buckley, Rocky Point, Senior
Rachel Watson, Smithtown West, Senior
Katherine Penny, West Islip, Senior
Olivia Binder, Kellenberg, Senior