When you watch the Sachem North cheerleading team perform its enthralling routine, it seems as though you’re watching a team mainly composed of varsity veterans.
But that’s not the case.
More than half of the talented 22-member squad are underclassmen, something you would never notice Saturday. Sachem North stepped onto the mat like dynamite as it won the Large Division I title at a Suffolk cheerleading competition at West Babylon.
West Babylon placed second and Smithtown West finished third in the division. Shoreham-Wading River took the Large Division II title and Bay Shore won the Large Coed Division.
“The younger girls are a crucial part of our team,” senior Adrianna Sigler said. “I was extremely proud of how strong they came out today. It really pushed us all to do our best.”
“I think that’s the key to why we have so much success,” coach Danielle Gresalfi said. “Our younger girls are being carried through by the seniors and that’s making all the difference this year.”
Eighth-graders Liliana Romano, Camron Buckstein and Madison Zappulla opened with impressive tumbling sequences and added strong pyramid stunts throughout the performance.
“They came to us as strong tumblers, so we took that in and introduced them to harder, more elite routines. They’ve proved that they can take their skills to the next level today,” Gresalfi said.
Senior flyer Madison Bulzoni pulled off a solid “high to high” with one leg at the top of one of the squad’s four pyramids. The routine was previously performed with two legs, a stunt less difficult.
“Our coaches help them level up their skills, but as seniors, we wanted to help them get their confidence levels up so they can hit their stunts with ease and perfection,” Bulzoni said. “They pulled that all together today and I was so excited to see them do that.”
“The seniors have really taken the younger girls in and made them feel welcome and comfortable on the mat,” assistant coach Danielle Modica said.
While Sachem North is a program well-known for some of the hardest skills in tumbling and pyramids, that wasn’t the focal point this time.
“We really focused on our execution this week and tried to make sure everything was hitting on a specific count,” Gresalfi said. “That really pulls us up to the next level. We’re not only focusing on the difficulty but making the routine look clean and effortless.”
“Our goal for this competition was to improve our execution,” Sigler said. “This week, we honed in on the little details of the routine to make sure it looked flawless."
Sigler, Bulzoni and Serrano have experienced two state championships by the powerhouse program in 2019 and 2022.
“We have the drive to prove that we’re the best again and our Sachem pride that we will continue to show every time we step onto the mat,” Bulzoni said.