OSSINING, N.Y. The Ossining High School cheerleaders are a familiar, attractive and inspirational part of weekly football games providing background vocals to the grunting, blocking and tackling of Pride football players on the field.
But dont be fooled by the cute outfits, welcoming smiles and rustling pom-poms, the Pride cheerleaders mirror the players in dedication, work ethic, athletic ability and even susceptibility to injury.
Its a lot of effort, a lot of muscle memory and memorization of cheers, Pride cheerleading Co-captain Tiffany Redondo said. As far as physical demands, we need leg and upper body strength, seeing as we lift girls in the air. Being able to pump up the crowd with a single cheer is amazing. And of course, there are the perks of wearing a uniform and bow.
Pride cheerleading Coach JoAnn Streany, a former Croton High cheerleader and the daughter of a Croton cheerleader, said her girls mix athleticism, dance ability and a certain amount of charisma for a job that takes guts and glamour.
This group gets along very well, Streany said. I was a cheerleader and so was my mom, so Ive been around it for a while. It takes some skill to do this. The stunts can be tough. The girls practice a couple of hours a day and do some that are fairly difficult. You have to have the courage to get out in front of your peers and cheer win or lose with the right attitude.
The Ossining cheerleaders support the schools teams jumping, dancing and flipping through their choreographed cheers in all kinds of weather and field conditions, balancing the physical effort with a big dose of team spirit.
We get all kinds of injuries, sprained wrists and ankles, bruises, along with the possibility of breaking bones, Co-captain Kelli Ann Correa said. Thats why we stretch properly and stunt safe it with our coaches.
Streany is a fan as well as a coach during her six years with the Pride cheerleaders.
You have to have a certain amount of endurance for the stunts and tumbling and to be able to pick things up quickly, Streany said. You have to be a well-rounded person, know the basics of football. Each of them is a star in her own right.
And the background music to the Pride football team win or lose.
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