HHS Cheerleaders HIT #2 at the Nationals
The Hauppauge High School Varsity Cheerleaders competed in the Small Varsity Division of the 2018 UCA (Universal Cheerleaders Association) National High School Cheerleading Championship in Disney. This year the competition was tough, as more than 115 teams took the mat in Prelims for Small Varsity Div. I & Div. II.
HHS competed in Division II lead by Senior Captains Francesca Capilets, Emily Clackett, Samantha Suazo, and Elizabeth Szachacz. The Cheerleaders are coached by Ms. Laura Candela. Coach Candela was assisted by the Junior Varsity Cheerleading Coach Ms. Crystal Corrigan and the 7th and 8th Grade Cheerleading Coach Ms. Angie Apolinaris.
Coach Candela had this to say about their stellar season, “This was a great season we started off the season strong winning the UCA Empire Regionals to get our bid to go to the Nationals. The next three competitions did not go so well. It was a reality check for the girls. Even though we had the hardest routine in our division, if you do not hit it, you will not be rewarded. This made the girls push really hard to perfect their skills.
After those three competitions, for the third year in a row, they took home the UCA Garden State Championship. Since then, they placed first in all their local competitions. All season we worked on getting that ‘HIT’ at the Nationals and during finals and they did it. That was their goal since last year when we had a drop at the finals and took third place. We had taken first place at the last five competitions we competed in leading up to the Nationals.
Their energy during the performance at the Nationals was contagious. We had so many other Long Island schools and the crowd cheering our cheer ‘EAG-LES LET’S GO EAGLES.’ It was amazing. The whole place was cheering with us. The execution of their stunts and tumbling was near perfect. They scored over 7 points higher than the 3rd place team. We competed against over 60 teams in our division. It was one of the toughest divisions at the Nationals. Our team and I even got interviewed three times while we were there.
On Saturday morning, we competed in prelims this year because we did not make it straight through to finals like we did last year. We didn’t hit in prelims. We had to compete later that night in the Semi-finals. This actually worked out to be a great thing because Saturday night at the Semis, they hit their routine. I think that gave them the confidence they needed to hit again on Sunday night in the finals, especially since we had six new athletes on the nationals mat this season.
The team who beat us is from Kentucky and has won three years in a row. They have a veteran team.”
The Division II finals will be aired on ESPNU on March 31 at 11:00 am EST, and on ESPN2 on April 7 at 8:30 am EST and April 8 at 2:00 pm EST.