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Springville-Griffith Institute cheerleaders take fourth place at ECIC championship

GO TEAM — Members of the Springville-Griffith Institute varsity cheerleaders team include Ashley Westfall, Emilee Willibey, Nicole Conklin, Alyssa Connors, Lizzy Taford, Beki Tomasello, Dakota Hecht, Daneale Zickl, Leah Waldman, Makenzie Fintak, Haley Kehr, Tessa Smith, Lizzy Vincent, Shailynn O’Connor, Megan Kruse, Sevana Armenia, Mikayla Fleming, Alicia Rinard, Jasandra Glass, Lauren Paul, Marlee Nye, Joelle Rosenswie and Haley Rorick. Photo submitted by Coach Toni Orsini.
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute varsity cheerleading squad placed fourth out of seven teams at the Erie County Interscholastic Championship cheerleading competition, held Nov. 4 at Eden High School.

During the competition, Alicia Rinard and Riley Stedman were chosen as all-stars by the ECIC judges.

Springville senior Marlee Nye was named the most improved player and Emilee Willibey was given the Most Valuable Player Award.

The S-GI cheerleading team consisted of seven freshmen, three juniors and 11 seniors.

Coach Toni Orsini called her girls “one of most unique teams” that she has coached, during the 14 years she has spent coaching cheerleading. “I have a lot of team leadership, among my seniors,” she said. “But I also have a good foundation, for next season, with my 10 girls’ returning. They mesh really well together, during practice and away from practice.”

Orsini said that this year’s team included the highest number of freshmen she has had, on any of her varsity squads.

Some of her freshmen not only cheer at the varsity sports games, but also travel to junior varsity games, as well.

Orsini coaches all four of S-GI’s cheerleading teams, including JV and varsity football cheerleading and JV and varsity basketball cheerleading. Orsini said that most of her football cheerleaders “roll on over” to basketball cheerleading.

“With the football team making the run to the stadium, like they did, the girls just absolutely loved it,” she said. “They just want to feel like part of the team. My senior girls have been cheering for some of the football players for the last 11 years, from peewees, midgets, JV and now, varsity. They just loved every minute of the playoff run and being at the Ralph.”

Senior Ashley Westfall said, “Many people just think that we just sit around. We’re throwing people 10 feet in the air and catching them. We have to prepare, just like any other sport has to. It’s physically demanding and it can be really hard.”

Fellow senior Emilee Willibey has had Orsini as her coach for 11 years, now. Orsini worked with the peewee and midget Springville Bills, before heading to the program at the high school. This winter will be Willibey’s final cheerleading season.

“It’s really sad,” she said. “I’ve felt like crying a thousand times, already. It’s really energizing and I just love to be at the games, cheering on the guys,” she said, with a laugh.

Orsini has 25 girls on her basketball cheerleading squad. Some members now cheer at both junior varsity and varsity basketball games, as a few of the girls did, during the past football season.

Members of the team include Westfall, Willibey, Nicole Conklin, Alyssa Connors, Lizzy Taford, Beki Tomasello, Dakota Hecht, Daneale Zickl, Leah Waldman, Makenzie Fintak, Haley Kehr, Tessa Smith, Lizzy Vincent, Shailynn O’Connor, Megan Kruse, Sevana Armenia, Mikayla Fleming, Rinard, Jasandra Glass, Lauren Paul, Nye, Joelle Rosenswie and Haley Rorick.
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