Maddalena, a senior captain who has been with the Pirates for four years, said the complexity of the team’s routines helped propel them in competitions this year. “Our difficulty went up a lot,” she said. “The stunts we put in this year scored a lot higher.”
Cheerleaders like Tyler Dineen and Victoria Ponce noted that, because Mepham has a co-ed team, they are more flexible and can vary their stunts.
Kyriacou said the cheerleading program became co-ed three years ago when two Mepham boys joined. One of them was Anthony Jannotti, who was a senior member of the nationally ranked team this year.
Jannotti said that, before becoming a cheerleader, he executed flips and stunts while skateboarding. He added that he knew how to tumble before joining the team, but he wanted to learn more.
“I was always into the crazy kind of stuff,” he said.
This year, two other senior boys joined the squad. Anthony Boglione, who Maddalena contacted about cheering, said he “went to one open gym and I loved it.” Kyriacou said she was impressed that he and Dineen were as successful as they were in their first year with the sport.
Although they also had two new freshmen, the team was primarily made up of seniors. Kyriacou said she hopes the competition victories will draw boys to the squad so the team can remain co-ed, as well as any student interested in the sport.
“They built a strong program, and we don’t want to see that disappear,” she said. “I hope all of this encourages more talented people to come out and build on this team’s success.”