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Some of LI's hardest working athletes shine at halftime

The Northport Band performs at halftime of the

The Northport Band performs at halftime of the football game, Saturday, September 22, 2018 at Northport High School Credit: George A. Faella

Wow! That was an exciting first half. Those football players really left it on the field. We now direct your attention to the center of the field for the halftime show feature some of the hardest working athletes — yes, athletes — on Long Island.

The pageantry begins with the marching band. Did you know that a set of tenor drums weigh more than 50 pounds? Try lugging that around on a sweltering afternoon. Check out the kick lines. Are they in synch or what? Last but not least, three cheers for those cheerleading teams. And now a look at this week’s featured teams:

THE NORTHPORT MARCHING BAND is 320 members strong, comprising 230 instrumentalists, a flag line of 45 and a kick/dance team of 48. And they rock.

“We’ve made it a college experience for everyone,” said coach Lynn Cromeyn, who starts each game with the unfurling of a 40-yard American flag. “It’s more than a football game in Northport,” she said. “It’s a whole production.”

ST. ANTHONY’S KICKLINE stretches the 120 feet between the 30-yard lines, dancing to the beat in perfect synchronous step. And there’s royalty, too, among the 43 girls. Siena Kahler, a junior baton twirler, is a member of the USA Twirling team. Coach Jenn Allstadt runs a tight ship, said assistant coach Angela Manney.

“She’s a dance teacher in a private studio and she molds our girls into quite the team. It’s not that easy when the girls range in size from just under five foot to just over six foot tall.” The team practices three times a week, and in this case, practice makes perfect.

FREEPORT’S CHEERLEADERS know how to get fans fired up in a hurry. The party starts when the cheer team marches in the with the Red Devils band, and then comes “We are the Devils!” the chant that touches off the noise explosion. “Our girls have fun,” said coach Laurie Kolodny, who has been leading Freeport’s cheerers for 30 years. “Our girls are schooled in the game of football.” They’re also schooled in multiple stunting routines led by two-year captains in seniors Tamiah Simpson and Mary Mileo, along with the fan favorite human pyramid. This team scores a touchdown every time. It’s fun to be at Freeport football games.

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