Greenwich High cheerleaders take fourth at CIAC class LL finals

Members of the Greenwich High School cheerleading team take to the mat during the CIAC class LL finals. — Avery Belicka photo

Members of the Greenwich High School cheerleading team take to the mat during the CIAC class LL finals. — Avery Belicka photo

Greenwich High School head coach Maryanne Catalano had every reason to be fired up after her team’s performance during the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference class LL championship meet Saturday afternoon at the Floyd Little Athletic Center.

After a near-flawless Grease Lightning routine, the Lady Cardinals were dreaming big just prior to the awards ceremony.

Although Catalano and the rest of the Lady Cards thought a top three finish was definitely within reach, Big Red was just shy, taking fourth place overall with a score of 163.8.

“We did a great performance and I couldn’t have asked for anything stronger than what they gave me today,” Catalano said. “Being fourth in the state in class LL is wonderful, but it is what it is. The judges decided that there were three teams that were better. Newtown was wonderful, Ludlowe is always good and Masuk was good. It just wasn’t our year.”

Greenwich’s fourth-place score was more than two points better than that of Fairfield Warde High School, which took fifth place overall with a score of 160.1. Coming in fifth was Danbury High School, which took home a score of 159.7.

Fairfield Ludlowe High School won the class LL championship, netting a score of 174.8 points. Not far behind was Newtown High School, which took the silver with 170.2 points. Masuk High School rounded out the top three with a score of 169.9.

The top three in each class advance to the New England regional championship, which will be held this weekend. Although the team took fourth, Catalano didn’t see too much to critique about her team’s routine.

“I liked everything,” Catalano said. “They hit everything and were clean. There was one little bobble, but the stunt didn’t come down. They had a lot of spirit, were loud and they were sharp. Their emotions were great and their stunts were good. Next year we have to bring it up to a higher level.”

Members of the Greenwich High School cheerleading team take to the mat during the CIAC class LL finals. — Avery Belicka photo

Members of the Greenwich High School cheerleading team take to the mat during the CIAC class LL finals. — Avery Belicka photo

Leading up to the competition, Catalano was concerned with how her team would handle the pressure at the class LL championship meet. After the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship concluded, with Greenwich taking third overall and Catalano netting her first-ever Coach of the Year award, the head coach gave her team two weeks to regroup and heal any injuries.

When it was time to get back on the mat, Catalano said, she noticed some rust. Throw in a few illnesses that kept several athletes out of practice on Thursday and school being snowed out on Friday and it’s easy to see why Catalano was slightly nervous about the performance at LLs.

However, Big Red was able to pull together in the final moments for the stellar showing.

“The last couple of days they really hit everything,” Catalano said. “We had two out sick on Thursday, and Friday was no school, so we went in this morning and had some fun with the girls. We really did a nice run-through and hit everything. They performed well today and you can’t say anything bad about what they did today. I’m so proud of them.”

This year’s Greenwich cheerleading team will be graduating 11 seniors from the roster.

“They meant a lot and are wonderful leaders,” Catalano said. “I have four great captains. The whole team has gone through a lot, but we pulled together as a family and had a great season.”

In addition to captains Erin Andrews, Carly Goldstein, Kaitlyn Cunningham, and Caroline Vaccari, Jana Bartomioli, Keri Bozzutto, Lauren Bria, Kendra Clarke, Gabby DiLorenzo, Hailey Pedicano, and Maddie Popp all competed for the last time in a Cardinals uniform.

“I am so going to miss the seniors,” Catalano said. “I was so hoping that we would get in the top three and make it to regionals next weekend, so I’m a little disappointed they won’t be able to do that. It was just hard to say good-bye to the seniors today.”

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