Years before cheerleading was officially designated a sport by NYSPHSAA, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, the Ursuline Cheerleading program demonstrated why cheer is more than an athletic activity. Cheerleading is a sport that encompasses tumbling, stunting, dance, motion, cheer, synchronization - and cheerleading is extremely competitive.
Ursuline’s Varsity and Junior Varsity Cheerleading teams have earned tremendous success this season. Both teams finished first at the Westchester County Championship for the second year in a row. Both teams also did well at the Regional Championships; Varsity placed top three and JV brought home a division championship banner, which earned both teams bids to attend the 2019 UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida on February 8 – 10, 2019. The National competition was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex where 20,000 people watched in six arenas. More than 18,500 athletes on 950 teams came from 29 states to compete at this prestigious cheerleading championship that was nationally televised on ESPN and ESPN2.
The competition schedule was grueling over the three days. The competitions took place in several categories based on school size as well as specific skills. At the Game Day competition, our Junior Varsity took bronze with their exciting routines. The next day, after two rounds, the JV earned silver in the JV Non-Tumbling competition. And, the following day, JV participated in an international contest, the World School Competition. The countries represented included Canada and Costa Rica. Our squad earned the right to take part based on their top-ten placement at Nationals the year prior.
We congratulate the JV on their hard work and focus which resulted in a perfect routine, first place and the gold medal – deeming them World Champions! As a whole, the teams from the USA earned the top scores of the competition and JV earned the highest score of the session, becoming the official 2019 representative for the USA. Their victory gave them the honor of wearing the coveted white jackets.
Our Varsity competed against 77 other teams in the highly competitive Small Varsity Division II. The team demonstrated difficult routines, performed very cohesively, and earned 9th place in this competitive division. That same day, the Varsity cheerleaders competed one more time, earning bronze at the World School Championships.
Rooting for both Koala teams were family members and an enthusiastic group of Ursuline alumnae who had traveled to Orlando. We congratulate our coaches, five of whom are alumnae – Head Varsity Coach Adriana Lacarbonara '03, Assistant Varsity Coach John Braca, Assistant Varsity Coach Jenna Ricciardi '06, Head JV Coach Karissa Vargas '08, Assistant JV Coach Amanda Dias '08, Assistant JV Coach Jillian Paladino '09 and moderator Joan Brescia. Their years of dedication to Ursuline and the cheer program are unmatched.
Following these excellent results at Nationals, on February 16 at the Sectional competition the Varsity Cheerleaders won the Small Team/Large School Division to advance to the NYSPHSAA State Championships for the second year in a row. In addition, Ursuline Varsity cheerleader Maria Leni '21 was named All-League.
We applaud the cheerleaders and their grit, their willingness to constantly improve, and their spirit!