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Springville Midget Bills cheerleaders take first place in competition

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS — The Springville Midget Bills cheerleading squad won first place at a recent competition. Pictured, top row, from left: Junior Coach Autumn Mangano, Assistant Coach Alicia Perkins, Dannie Carvalho, Aireanah Hebdon, Sara Kehr, Brooke Lynn Smith, Brooke Czechowski. Middle row: Anaclaire Cordaro, Hanah Booth, Ashley Becker, Talia Mangano, Assistant Coach Tabitha Taylor and Head Coach Alexis Holley. Bottom row: Rae-Lynn Smith, Ashley Schoepflin, Olivia Fisher, Nadia Allard, Rachel Rosenswie and mascot Mackenzie Hebdon. Photo submitted by Holley.
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville Midget Bills Cheerleaders took first place at the Cattaraugus County Midget Football League competition, held on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Salamanca High School.

The competition featured 11 squads from around the area who performed in front of five judges, their peers and families, according to Bills Coach Alexis Holley. The other teams included the Randolph Raiders, Cattaraugus Cowboys, Seneca Sachems, Pine Valley Long Horns, Ellicottville Eagles, Little Valley Panthers, Salamanca Warriors, Springville Colts, Allegheny Gators and Salamanca Sabres.

“We all arrived at 8 in the morning and had to be completely ready. [The girls were not allowed to wear] makeup, nail polish; nothing like that. The girls all had to line up, for inspection by the judges. If any illegal makeup was found, they would deduct points,” Holley explained.

Next, the girls ran through their routine with the coach, before performing in front of the judging panel. The judges awarded and deducted points from the routine, based on the following criteria: tumbling, including round-offs, walkovers, series combinations, cartwheels, rolls and backbends; stunts, including full extensions, liberties, tic-tocs, extended lifts, thigh stands and shoulder sits; pyramids, with categories for extensions and prep variations; motions and dance; jumps with grading on height, body lines, form and synchronization; overall extensions and techniques, uses of the floor, flow of the routine, transitions and timing; routine creativity and overall impression.

After the Midget Bills performed, they watched the other teams go through their own routines, which Holley called a “nervewracking experience.”

“I think I’m more nervous than the girls are,” she said, with a laugh.

The Midget Bills, who range in age from 11 – 13, mostly hail from the Springville-Griffith Institute School District and practice for two hours each day, Monday – Thursday.

“We have a very dedicated squad, this year,” Holley said. “For the last two weeks, the girls asked if we could practice on Saturdays and Sundays, too.”

The squad has been preparing for this competition since August and Holley said that the commitment of her girls and their parents does not go unnoticed.

“It’s a huge time commitment, for the parents, to drive their girls to all these practices and events,” she said. “We are very appreciative of that.”

Although she acknowledged that her girls work hard, cheerleading for the Bills is not all work and no play. “The girls worked hard, this season, but we also had fun doing it,” Holley noted. “We had many pizza parties and tie-dyed shirts. We are so proud of their accomplishments, this season.”

Six of the midget cheerleaders will be moving up this year, according to Holley. She said that many of the girls who start out in midget cheerleading go on to cheer for S-GI, after their stint with that league is over.

“It’s definitely good preparation,” she said. “A lot of our girls try out for JV and go on to cheer at a higher level.”

The cheerleaders’ performance at the CCMFL competition was recorded and is available for viewing on YouTube™ at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTyqSDYQBvc&feature=youtu.be.
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