After entertaining the fans on the sidelines of football, and now basketball games, Shelton High’s cheerleaders are gearing up for competition of their own.
Winter season is championship season for cheer squads, at least once February rolls around.
Once again, Shelton’s cheerleaders are striving to be among the best in the Southern Connecticut Conference and the state.
The Gaelettes are the defending SCC champions and coming off a fourth-place finish in states.
“Our goal for the season is to come back and win states. The team is focused and ready to come back strong this year. We are also focusing on winning our conference once again,” Shelton coach Christine Pavone said.
Voids were left by five team members to graduate, but the Gaelettes have strong senior leadership back in the fold, led by captains Ciana Buchanan and Haley Bumbala.
Shelton’s other seniors are Hannah Distassio and Bree Krentzman.
“We have a great group of underclassman — a lot of talent,” Pavone said.
The Gaelettes will have strong competition from North Haven and Cheshire in the SCC championships, and Fairfield Ludlowe, Danbury and Newtown at the state level.
Hard work can help the girls retain their conference crown and push them to the top in states, and Pavone likes the effort of her team.
“A strength all around for this team is teamwork and dedication,” she said. “They work so well together and are constantly cheering each other on.The girls have a special bond, which they bring to the mat at each practice. It makes them stronger every day.”
To get where they want to be, the cheerleaders have to continue to work on their routines as a unit throughout the winter.
“It will take practice and more practice. It will take dedication and commitment and the desire to want to win,” Pavone said.
The Gaelettes began piecing together their routines back in the summer and practice three days a week for two-and-a-half-hour each session.
“We run full out routines throughout practice along with hours or tumbling and stunting,” Pavone said. “There are even extra practices added into the week once competition season gets closer. The girls will put in countless hours to get back the state title.
“We have been preparing mentally for comp season all year. The girls and I are very excited for the season to start. They are ready both mentally and physically for the season.”
Members of the team are Ciana Buchanan, Haley Bumbala, Bree Krentzman, Hannah Distassio, Molly Carr, Caroline Silvis, Justine Tadduni, Julia Dojilidko, Bri Capela, Emma Testani, Saige McCarten, Sophie Dewitt, Maia Valinsky, Ava Genova, Nicole Purciello, Nicole Abbati, Victoria Villalobos, Olivia Darby, Mackenzie Boyce, Juliana Falanga, Trista Oddo, Makayla Hulton, Rachel Dillon, Jackie Lupia, and Sydney Barry.