By Matthew O’Brien, director of health, physical education and athletics
When the temperature drops and winter arrives, Coach Kim Milazzo and the girls start to kick it into high gear, because with the winter season comes cheerleading’s competitive season, and the competition is exactly what these girls want.
This winter season, the girls are determined to keep the Section IX Title right here in Gladiator Nation. Goshen Cheer won the Section IX Championship last year and in 2016 and 2017 before that, marking an impressive ascendancy within the Section IX ranks. While 3 championships in 4 years and a 9th place finish in NYS (2019) may leave some feeling satisfied, Coach Milazzo is challenging this team even more.
“We lost 11 seniors last year, and have only one senior this year – but our routine this year is even more difficult than it was last year. It has to be – we are competing in one of the biggest divisions in the section,” says Coach Milazzo.
When asked if she thought her team could defend their title and repeat as champions, she said, “every week, these girls are eager to make the routine and stunts more difficult. They are hardworking and committed to two full seasons. They are present at every football game and every home basketball game. They practice 5 days a week and compete on the weekends.”
She continued, “For them, Cheer starts in August and doesn’t end until March and they stay dedicated the whole time. The athleticism and physical strength it takes to perform this difficult routine (2 minutes and 30 secs… jam-packed with stunts, tosses, tumbling, cheer, and dance) is incredible. Each week we receive feedback from our fans and other teams about how great the routine is. They bring the energy each week and have fun with it.”
The team has shown no signs of slowing down, having already placed first in the Minisink and John Jay competitions, and adding a second place finish at Dover. With upcoming competitions at Valley Central and Monroe-Woodbury, the Gladiators will continue their preparation for the Section Championships on February 22 at Monroe-Woodbury High School.