NEW YORK - Every high school cheerleader dreams about it, but only the best get to compete for the coveted title: National Champions.
"This program has been around for over fifty years and the National High School Cheerleading Championship has been around forty years. Within those time frames, St. Francis Prep Cheerleading has never gone," says Head Varsity Coach Rosie Tombolo.
This year, St. Francis Preparatory School’s cheerleading team is making a comeback worth rooting for.
Both of its competitive teams qualified for "bids," or invitations, to compete in different divisions at the Universal Cheerleading Association’s National High School Championship in Orlando, Florida, from February 11th-13th.
The team only recently transitioned from remote workouts back to in-person practices
"It’s been a work in progress, for sure, after having a full year and a half off, being remote for school, not having the full capacity to stunt and really work on our craft," Tombolo adds.
Forty-one talented athletes will be putting their skills to the ultimate test on the national mat, including the team’s first and only male cheerleader, Jeremy Allman.
"I didn’t know there were male cheerleaders, so, seeing male cheerleaders perform for the first time really inspired me and I hope I inspire other boys to join," Allman explains.
The squad will have to pass through preliminary rounds, semi-finals, and then finals if it wants a shot at placing.
However, win or lose, Tombolo says they’ll bring home something much more meaningful than a trophy.
"Just going down there for the first time, getting their feet wet, learning what it’s all about, seeing these other teams perform in person, it’s going to be so impactful. And it can set them, really, on the path in life for where they want to go."
The cheer squad is completely self-funded.
Donations may be placed via Venmo @SFPATHLETICS6100 or through the school website at SFPonline.org.