2017-2018 Winter sports preview: Cheerleading


Katya Avila

“Our team goal is to achieve more difficult skills,” cheer captain Shakir Philippe said. “We really hope to increase the skill set that we have, and build on all the previous cheerleaders and what they can do.”
The captains this year are Paige McMorrow, Shakir Philippe, Ally Vuono and Liz DePaola, and there are 17 girls on the team. Cheer coach Melinda Toto believes the team is doing a great job at encouraging each other, and working together.
“In the past we haven’t been so good there [in encouraging each other],” Toto said. “So I definitely think that’s their strength. And it really works for them, they’ve done so well this year because of it.”
Unlike last year, the team won’t be competing this winter, but they hope to expand their horizons. Normally, the team only cheers during basketball games, but this season they hope to motivate and hype up the crowd and players during hockey games and wrestling matches as well.
“They want to cheer at more wrestling matches, because they’ve only been able to go to one or two,” Toto said of the team. “They just think it would be better to be more all around when it comes to cheering with sports, and that’s their goal.”
The cheerleaders have been preparing since summer for the season, by doing things such as AWT, and researching new stunts. The team is working hard to advance in their abilities and cheer on more sports at SPFHS.
“They’ve grown so much,” Toto said. “I’ve known a lot of them I’ve had since they were freshman, and their stunting has come a long way, and their tumbling, and they’ve worked really well together so I’m excited to see them continue to build friendships and improve as a whole.”