For the first time in program history, the Penfield Patriots varsity cheerleading squad has been crowned as a Section V Champion in the highly competitive AA1 Division. The competition was held at the RIT Gordon Field House on Saturday, Feb. 23, where the Patriots took first place with a score of 301 beating out Webster Thomas and Fairport, who tied in second place with a score of 300. This was the closest competition of the day. The AA1 Division, consisting of 9 teams, is typically the most difficult in all of Section V. Senior Maria Sabik was awarded the Nancy Saxton Leadership Award.
The team spent hundreds of hours perfecting a 2-and-a-half-minute routine which showcased many difficult components. The team drew cheers from the crowd with their flawless and perfectly timed execution of tumbling, stunting and dance. It was a true representation of the Penfield spirit!
To round out a tremendous year for the program, the varsity team won the X-Large Varsity Level 4 category at the 2013 Contest of Champions All-Star Cheer and Dance National Competition held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Arena in Walt Disney World on March 3. Competing against five strong teams from Louisiana, Mississippi, New York and Alaska, Penfield was presented with the High Score Award for the Level 4 division. This is Penfield’s second national title in three years. The program continues to develop under the expert direction of coach Carolyn Valenti, who has been with Penfield for 8 years.
Always entertaining and pushing the limits of how much can be accomplished in a short routine, the team had many great successes in both Fall and Winter seasons. They finished in second place at the 2012 Webster Schroeder Cheer Competition and Fall Section V Competition; third Place at the 2013 NYSPHSAA Eastern Competition; first place and Grand Champions at the 2013 Ultimate Cheer & Dance Competition; first place and Grand Champions at the NYS Cheer Spectacular; and third place at the Counties Competition. This Winter season, seniors Jenifer Mack, Courtney Nist and Lena Katafiaz were selected to the All County First Team and senior Samantha Orlando was selected to the All County Second Team.
“I’m so proud of everyone’s efforts and how we came together as a team,” Valenti said. “I told the girls that if they work hard and leave their hearts out there on the mat, there’s no way they can’t finish on top. And that’s just what they did.”
The 2012-2013 Penfield Patriots Varsity Cheerleading squad is comprised of 22 girls: 8 seniors, 10 juniors, 1 sophomore, 2 freshmen and an eighth-grader. Members of the team are: Samantha Orlando, Lena Katafiaz, Courtney Nist, Erin Murphy, Brenda Clark, Maria Sabik, Amanda Battoglia, Jenifer Mack, Lauren Klintworth, Aviana Catarisano, Hannah Owens, Meagan Catalfamo, Jasmine Douglas, Meghan Haight, Brittany Hopper, Maddie Bewick, Rayanna Eckman, Maddy Parrinello, Maddie Eckman, Abby Prem, Savannah Tantillo and Erica Kachaylo.
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