After a movie-like ride, the Valley Cottage Indians Jr. Midgets Cheerleaders are U.S. Champions.
The group of 12 girls has been cheerleading together for the past six years, and the organization has been around for three decades. But for the first time ever, the troupe saw national recognition.
The girls won the county competition in early 2011 after a scare—one of the cheerleaders broke her foot at the eleventh hour.
"We had to rework the routine," explained Michelle Delo, a parent and assistant coach. "It was very stressful for the girls."
After the county-level victory came state and regional victories. Then, this month, the girls traveled to Orlando, FL for the nation championship. They went up against 18 other teams—and won.
"It was a huge accomplishment for the girls," Delo said. The troupe returned late on Dec. 8. Now, they're hoping to cover expenses with some fundraiser via coin drops and restaurant nights.
On Jan. 24, Clarkstown officials will present the girls with honorary certificates. Delo is hoping there will be more fanfare, too. "It's a huge deal for Clarkstown," she said. "Maybe we can work with the town to create a small parade."
The cheerleaders are: Jenna Brady, Abigail Callan, Amanda Chazan, Deanna D'Antoni, Samantha DeLeo, Victoria Giordano, Emily Halloran, Ciara Lopez, McKenzie Mayer, Annamarie Pellegrino, Sabrina Ruckel and Sam Vassami.
The Head coach is Nicole Moorer, the Assistant Coaches are Michelle DeLeo, Trina Grant-Lopez, Jessica Epstein; Team Business Managers are Kristen Callan and Staci Vassami.
This team placed 1st in County, States, Regional and National and has been the only team in the 30-year history of the Valley Cottage Indians to not only qualify for Nationals but to also take 1st place and become National Champions.