Scarsdale High School's daily online news source


Scarsdale High School's daily online news source


Scarsdale High School's daily online news source


Scarsdale Cheerleaders Compete at UCA Nationals in Orlando

From February 8th to February 12th, the Varsity Traditional, Junior Varsity Traditional, and Gameday Team competed at UCA Nationals in Orlando, Florida.
Lilly Yabuki
Cheerleaders from the Varsity and JV teams posed together at Walt Disney World during their trip to UCA National.

From February 8th to February 12th, the Cheerleaders from Scarsdale High School made their way to Orlando Florida for Nationals at Walt Disney World. The Varsity Traditional, Junior Varsity (JV) Traditional, and Gameday Team (made up of varsity and JV members) all qualified to compete at UCA Nationals in Orlando, Florida.

Preparation for nationals started in the spring of 2023 during spring clinics. In August, as the school season began, the team worked even harder to prepare. “We were creating stunt groups that naturally work well together while also brainstorming and studying different routine variations that would perform well & score high at nationals,” Coach Heidi Lajqi said. To compete at nationals, each team needed to receive a bid at a regional competition.

“I’m most proud of how our difficulty increased, especially because there are so many freshmen on the team. People with no experience also joined our team and put in so much hard work and effort to catch up to those returning from previous years of cheerleading,” Cianna Amicucci ’26 stated.

Varsity Traditional received their bid at the Poconos Regional Competition in Pennsylvania on December 10th, 2023. The Junior Varsity Traditional and Gameday Team both received their bid for nationals at the Long Island Regionals on December 17th, 2023.

The Cheerleading Program at SHS is made up of a majority of underclassmen with 11 freshmen and 4 sophomores out of the 19 athletes between all the teams. For many cheerleaders, this was their first time competing at Nationals. “This group of athletes is fairly new, there were a few girls that returned from the previous year, however, the new girls outweighed the returners. The girls were constantly working with their teammates to improve the dynamic, do team bonding, and always give each other constructive criticism,” Lajqi said.

For other cheerleaders on the team, the competition and experience were familiar to them as the Scarsdale cheerleading program has been attending nationals for many years. “Going to Nationals is always so fun. I love spending time with the team and seeing the other team’s routines,” Junior Captain Marin Shandler ’25 said.

Nationals is a memorable experience for the team. Walt Disney World is packed with cheerleaders from across the country. “It was a really fun experience and I look forward to it next year because you just bond with everyone so much. The rewarding feeling of doing great on the mat and then getting to celebrate in the parks with your closest friends is really amazing,” Amicucci commented.

The Varsity Traditional Team did make it out of the first round scoring a 64.4 out of 100. “Of course, we wish we could have advanced out of the semis at nationals, but the girls hit their routine beautifully and we were so proud of them for that. Next year we are hoping to advance out of the first round,” Lajqi said.

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