By Victoria Saporito
Sacred Heart University cheerleading squad will begin their season on Saturday, Dec. 10 against Nassau Community College in New York.
“I am most looking forward to the girls showcasing their routine,” said Head Coach CJ Sereno. “They’ve been working so hard and the talent on the team is extraordinary. It is the highest level of talent we have seen from SHU Cheer so far.”
This year’s team consists of 30 freshmen, nine sophomores, three juniors and four seniors. Being a team with so much young talent, they have been dedicated and committed to showing their competitive edge for years to come.
“There are so many expectations for the team because I see how talented and dedicated we are,” said junior captain Kristen Dallo. “Placing top five in nationals is our big goal and hitting our routine to the best of our ability is something that I expect from each and every girl and myself. I mainly just want to be the best captain possible.”
In 2014, the Pioneers claimed the program’s highest finish at the National Cheerleading Association National Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla. finishing in tenth place with the help of former head coach Aimee Piccin. In 2015 they took home another national title at the Universal Cheerleaders Association National Championship at Walt Disney World. They showed their improvement by finishing tied for sixth place.
“Our biggest competition is UCA Nationals in Orlando, Fla. This is the competition we have worked on for 10 months,” said Sereno. “This is one of the two largest competitions held for college cheerleading.”
Sereno is a former member of the Sacred Heart University cheerleading team, and served as the team captain during her senior year. Sereno competed in the UCA and NCA Nationals with Sacred Heart as a member of the competitive team, as well as Fairfield Warde High School before coming to Sacred Heart. Sereno is also currently working towards getting her Masters Degree.
“We had a lot of expectations at the start of our season in April,” said Sereno. “Fortunately for us, we have been able to meet those expectations thus far.”
This season, the upperclassmen and captains are very determined to set an example for their young team.
“Getting this position as a junior was such an honor, but also comes with a lot of nerves,” said Dallo. “You want to make sure you do everything right while being a leader and a teammate. I hope that I can succeed and I have high hopes that we can all complete our goals as a unit.”
The team is really looking forward to showcasing their talents and hard work.
“I am looking forward to showing everybody our routine. This year we have a lot of talent and I am very excited to show people what we have,” said senior captain Lauren Grieci.
Incorporating each individual’s talents will be the challenge for the team this coming year.
“We have such amazing girls this season that all bring something different to the mat so it will be exciting to see how we combine each girl’s talent in different ways,” said Dallo.
The team is excited for their start coming up.
“I expect my team to constantly put forth hard work, effort and dedication to the program on and off the mat,” said Sereno. “I expect them to display Sacred Heart Cheer in a positive way in anything they participate in.”