The Shelton High’s cheerleading team earned another title by winning the Class LL state competition at Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven on Sunday, March 4.
Shelton scored 187.4 points. Runner-up Fairfield Ludlowe had 183.8, Newtown finished third with 183, narrowly edging fourth-place Danbury (189.9). Fairfield Warde, with 167, rounded out the top five. There were 16 teams in the division.
The Gaelettes were fourth in last year’s state championships, less than two points behind first-place Danbury. This time around, the routine was just about spot on.
“I never say anyone’s perfect, but they put on a near flawless routine. They were amazing,” Shelton coach Christine Pavone said of her Gaelettes, who had earlier claimed the Southern Connecticut Conference title. “There’s always room for improvement, but they did an amazing job. I’m very proud of them.”
The competition featured five divisions broken into two sessions.
Class LL, Class S and the co-ed divisions alternated routines during the second session of the day.
Shelton’s cheer squad performed in the middle to early portion of the session.
“We were a little nervous at first,” Pavone said of her squad’s variety of stunts, flips, tumbles, and dance in a fast-paced routine. “They didn’t let it bother them. They just went out and did what they had to do.”
It took many hours of hard work, three practices of two or two-and-a-half hours per week, going over routines for the Gaelettes to get in sync.
A lot of camaraderie is necessary for routines to fall into place and come out seamlessly in competitions.
“That was my biggest focus this year was working together,” Pavone said.
Winning all of the regular-season competitions, and the conference and state class championships is quite an impressive accomplishment. All it takes is one fall or other mistake during a brief performance to hurt a team’s chances of winning.
“It’s two minutes and 30 seconds on the mat and you don’t know what can happen — anything can happen,” Pavone said. “It was just amazing. And just to see the support from the other teams and the compliments adds to it.”
The top six schools in each division advanced to the Team of the Year competition in North Haven later this month. Shelton’s season doesn’t end there; the Gaelettes, along with the other top three from each division, move on to the New England regional competition.
Pavone is assisted by coach Tiffany Johnson.
Team captains are Ciana Buchanan and Haley Bambula.
Team members 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 and Jackie Lupia.