Shelton cheerleaders make it an even dozen

Shelton High, coached by Christine Pavone and Tiffany Johnson, won the SCC Cheerleading Competition title. Team members (front row) are: Bree Krentzman, Haley Bumbala, Ciana Buchanan and Hannah Distassio; (second row) Molly Carr, Bri Capela, Caroline Silvis, Julia Dogildko and Justine Tadduni; (third row) Nicole Purciello, Sophie DeWitt, Nicole Abatti, Julianna Falanga, Saige McCarten, Ava Genova, Olivia Darby, Mackenzie Boyce, Victoria Villalobos, Emma Testani; (fourth row) Maia Valinski, Trista Oddo, Rachel Dillon, Makayla Hulton, Sydney Barry and Jackie Lupia. — Andy Hutchison photo

Shelton High has won the Southern Connecticut Conference cheerleading competition so many times in a row it has pretty much become expected the Gaelettes will come out on top.

As was the case in each of the previous 11 years, Shelton again came in first but had to sweat the latest one out on Saturday.

Host Shelton performed first and endured a couple of delays/cheer routine interruptions resulting from technical issues with the music. The locals then watched as 13 rival schools performed on the mat.

Shelton, with a score of 87.8, nipped North Haven (86.6). Daniel Hand (82.2), Lauralton Hall (80.6) and Cheshire (79.55) rounded out the top five.

Shelton executed a variety of stunts, including full twists in the air, releases, basket tosses, flips, tumbles and single base efforts.

The issues at the beginning of the routine made for some tense moments.

“It kind of takes them out of their momentum and after that you have to regroup and get it back together,” Pavone said. “You need to get back in there and forget the mistake that was made and move on to the next (part of the routine). It’s a great feeling. I’m very proud of them.”

The cheerleaders were prepared to overcome any hiccups that might come into play.

“I think this whole week that’s what our goal was — if anything went wrong we wanted to recover,” captain Ciana Buchanan said. “Every day our biggest competition is ourselves. That’s mainly what we focus on and we don’t worry about anything else.”

There were technical/audio problems for several of the other teams, who had a chance to restart their routines.

“We had to stay confident,” captain Haley Bumbala said. “It’s a very nice feeling. We worked very hard.”

The Gaelettes, led by Pavone and assistant coach Tiffany Johnson, are Bree Krentzman, Hannah Distassio, Molly Carr, Bri Capela, Caroline Silvis, Julia Dogildko, Justine Tadduni, Nicole Purciello, Sophie DeWitt, Nicole Abatti, Julianna Falanga, Saige McCarten, Ava Genova, Olivia Darby, Mackenzie Boyce, Victoria Villalobos, Emma Testani, Maia Valinski, Trista Oddo, Rachel Dillon, Makayla Hulton, Sydney Barry, Jackie Lupia, Ciana Buchanan and Haley Bumbala.

Haley Bunbala’s dad Darrell Bumbula had the winning 50-50 raffle ticket and donated his $285 winnings to the Shelton cheer program.

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