Penn-Trafford competitive spirit team hopes to keep moving forward

Monday, January 29, 2018 | 11:00 PM

Penn-Trafford's competitive spirit program has been through the full cycle of emotions during its first five seasons. Riley Coy, one of four seniors on the squad who became the first cheerleaders to letter all four years, felt most of them.

Making it to the PIAA competitive spirit championships was something Coy had experienced. Reaching the finals is where Penn-Trafford had fallen short in the past.

That made Coy appreciative of how the Warriors navigated their way to finals in the medium division last week in Hershey. Penn-Trafford ended up earning a bid to nationals and placed ninth at PIAAs, tying Hempfield with a score of 73.93.

“This year we all really had a common goal. We were determined from the start of the year that we wanted to make our mark and leave an impression on the program for years to come,” Coy said. “We want finals to become a common goal, and we did get a bid to nationals in Florida, but it's obviously not something we didn't have money to do it and it's such a young program.”

St. Huberts High School won the division with a 90.23.

The Warriors, who are led by Kristie Lynn, have had a competitive team for only five years. Katie Caruso, Lisa Konopka, Megan Cumberledge and Mary Beth Smyda are also assistant coaches for the team.

“They have grown so much in the past five years,” Lynn said. “These girls at other schools have done it since they were young. They've had competitive program for 20 years. Each year, we get better and better and have caught up to these schools. The competition gets better and better every year. I'm proud we are where we are, and we need to keep working and growing.”

In the offseason, Penn-Trafford put in extra time training with FSQ Sports Training. The Warriors were looking to be better all around.

“I believe this year we had a lot of seniors who have been on the team for at least two, three years,” senior Alexis Aiello said. “We had a lot more experience than our past years. We had a lot of girls that had been on other cheer teams and recreational sports. We had a lot of girls bringing a lot of different things to the team.”

Having a lot of well-rounded athletes led to Penn-Trafford making another step forward. Coy hopes the next group will continue the march forward.

Making it past the semifinals once seemed like a far-off goal, too.

“Our expectations were to go to the finals,” Coy said. “It was a goal that due to the previous years how we placed didn't seem so possible. Because of the new people we had as a team and we did things like FSQ in the summer and worked out. After hearing our results at WPIALs, it seemed like a real possibility.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.


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