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Cheerleading a growing sport in Liverpool area

A cheerleader grins during the team’s performance.
A cheerleader grins during the team’s performance.

LIVERPOOL - High school students are joining the ranks of cheerleaders in Queens.

After a successful first year for the South Queens Middle School team, coach Joanne Ozon is bringing the sport to Liverpool Regional High School.

“We tried to get it off the ground last year, but having two teams in their first year just wasn’t reality,” Ozon says. “It was just too much to take on at once.”

The high school hasn’t had a cheerleading squad in more than a decade.

Ozon formerly coached the Liverpool Privacheer team, but, she said, the fees for a private team were out of reach for many families in Queens. By having teams connected to a school, athletes can save money on practice space and they can compete with other schools.

With good participation at the middle school level, Ozon says she expects the high school team’s presence will help the sport’s popularity “explode”.

More than 30 girls tried out for the middle school team’s 22 spots, Ozon said. Liverpool Regional’s team had just enough boys and girls come out to fill the roster, including a few who had moved up from South Queens.

 “Three quarters of the team has a cheerleading background,” the coach said.  

Ozon wants to stress cheerleading is a competitive sport involving strength, agility and balance.

“A lot of people think we just have the pompoms and we cheer at the sidelines, but that’s not what we do,” she says.

Ozon has many plans for the two fledgling teams.

“The high school will be competing to go to provincials,” she says. “If we get to go, it’s kind of a big deal.”

After a successful first year for the South Queens Middle School team, coach Joanne Ozon is bringing the sport to Liverpool Regional High School.

“We tried to get it off the ground last year, but having two teams in their first year just wasn’t reality,” Ozon says. “It was just too much to take on at once.”

The high school hasn’t had a cheerleading squad in more than a decade.

Ozon formerly coached the Liverpool Privacheer team, but, she said, the fees for a private team were out of reach for many families in Queens. By having teams connected to a school, athletes can save money on practice space and they can compete with other schools.

With good participation at the middle school level, Ozon says she expects the high school team’s presence will help the sport’s popularity “explode”.

More than 30 girls tried out for the middle school team’s 22 spots, Ozon said. Liverpool Regional’s team had just enough boys and girls come out to fill the roster, including a few who had moved up from South Queens.

 “Three quarters of the team has a cheerleading background,” the coach said.  

Ozon wants to stress cheerleading is a competitive sport involving strength, agility and balance.

“A lot of people think we just have the pompoms and we cheer at the sidelines, but that’s not what we do,” she says.

Ozon has many plans for the two fledgling teams.

“The high school will be competing to go to provincials,” she says. “If we get to go, it’s kind of a big deal.”

The South Queens Middle School cheerleading team performs at a competition earlier in 2015. The team has started up again, along with a new high school team this year.

Last year, the middle school not only competed, South Queens hosted and won first place in a regional competition.

“A lot of people thought we couldn’t do it but then they came to the competition,” says Ozon. “They were different kids in front of spectators.”

 Competition begins in 2016, but Ozon said the teams may give an exhibition performance before then.

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