When it counted the most, Plainedge was perfect. After a season of minor inconsistencies and frustrations, the cheerleading routine came together at exactly the right moment, in exactly the way the team had envisioned it all along.
“It’s not easy to get everything perfect every time,” Jessie Terracciano said. “Usually, it’s really hard for us to all hit our stunts at the same time. But today, we finally did that.”
And, for their unblemished efforts, they get to continue onward — chasing continued perfection and a coveted state title. Plainedge won the Division II small school title at the Nassau Cheerleading championships Sunday at Wantagh High School. The victory qualified them for the state championships, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at the SRC Arena and Events Center in Syracuse.
It is the second consecutive county championship for Plainedge, who won the Division I large school crown last season.
Plainedge was hardly the lone champion crowned at the daylong, music-filled competition. Seaford won the Division II large school championship, Calhoun took honors in the Division I co-ed division, East Meadow was crowned the Division I large school champion and Wantagh, on their home mat, won the Division I small school title.
Plainedge competed second-to-last in the morning session, a long time to wait for eventual glory.
“It was very nerve-racking, especially because we were watching the other teams,” Jordan Swanson said. “But I was very confident in my team and what we could do . . . I had a good feeling about today.”
As Plainedge walked out of the warmup room, they could almost feel their potential — ready to burst out under the bright lights.
“We had a fantastic warmup,” Katelyn McCarthy said. “ . . . We had confidence. We lacked that during other competitions and that’s why we didn’t hit.”
It was also Wantagh’s second consecutive county title. They, along with Plainedge, will have a leg-up on cheer teams that did not experience the inaugural state championships last season.
“It was the first time last year, so everyone learned a little about what to change and how to make the routine for the score sheets,” Wantagh’s Bridget Connolly said.
Wantagh was the final team of the day to compete.
“The whole time we were watching everyone and hearing music,” Connolly said. “It got all of our attitudes up and the energy was really high. When we went out there, we were ready.”
Seaford had the difficult task of competing first, hitting the mat a little after 10 a.m. as the crowd continued to file in.
“There are nerves before you step on the mat,” Tiffany Casella, a Seaford captain, said. “But once you step on the mat, you’re relaxed and know what to do.”
Mikayla Cox, another Seaford captain, spent the warmup and pre-routine moments preaching positivity — bother inwardly and to her teammates.
“You need to be confident in your stunts,” Cox said. “You can’t be second-guessing everything . . . We just want everyone [else] to know that they can do it and that we believe in them.”