The school was the only school in the nation to send three teams for a national competition, and all three came up big.
They certainly have something to cheer about.
The St. Hubert High School cheerleading program continues to accomplish big things. This year, the school was the only one in the nation to send three teams to Orlando, Florida, to compete in the national cheerleading competition.
And this year, once again, they had a reason to cheer.
The JV Brown team won the national championship in the large JV division. This comes after the group won the regional championship.
Their other teams came up big, too.
The varsity squad took third overall in the Large Varsity Division 2 finals.
“It means a lot because it’s a very hard competition and the girls did great,” said Lisa McNesby, the head coach of the program. “The girls had a great routine. We have more than 70 kids in the program, and it was fun because we had so many people supporting us. Social media really makes it exciting. There were people watching at home who knew about things before I did, so it’s great to see how many people support us.”
The year ended up being just another great year for the Bambies, who have now won six state championships since 2012, when they won when the program was St. Hubert and Father Judge combined.
But for the JV Brown squad, this year was special because last year was disappointing when the team failed to make it to the final round.
“I’m happy for the girls because last year, this same team was very disappointed when they didn’t make it,” said JV coach Erin McShea. “It was rough last year, so this year, winning meant so much to them. The girls were so happy their work pays off.”
Athletes in all sports put in a lot of work, but the cheerleading season is a grueling one.
Tryouts take place in June, and practices begin right after that. The season culminates with the national championships in Orlando.
“You see other seasons start and end during cheerleading season,” McNesby said. “We start in June and go three or four nights a week for two and a half hours. Then we do competitions. It’s a lot of work, they have to have the choreography. There’s a lot of training and prep work that goes into everything. It’s a lot of work.”
The work has paid off.
This year, the varsity squad won the first PIAA state championship in program history. It also won the large varsity division title at the Garden State championship, and brought home crowns at many other local competitions.
The JV Brown team also won the regional championship, while the JV Gold squad won the Garden State JV non-tumbling championship and also brought home the regional title.
And while the Bambies were the top high school team in the city, Archbishop Ryan also brought home a trophy for placing sixth overall in the Super Varsity Division II finals.
Other organizations, including Crispin, St. Matt’s and Resurrection, competed and excelled at Orlando. According to McNesby, those athletes could end up future champions at St. Hubert.
“We’re very lucky to have so many great feeder programs,” McNesby said. “And when we’re there, we all support each other. If we’re not around when the other teams are cheering, we’ll watch on the computer. But we all cheer for each other. It was great to see Ryan do so well and the other schools, and Crispin, all did great down there. We all want to see each other do well.”
But nothing is like watching their team bring home the trophy.
“We’re the only team in the country to have 70 girls, we had 71, and we’re lucky to do it for a great school,” McShea said. “It’s a great opportunity and it was great to see the girls win. Everyone was very happy.” ••
The JV Gold Team consists of Katelyn Allen, Riley Bentley, Kaleena Collins, Kyra Cummings, Erin Dailey, Marissa Deissler, Gina DiNezza, Kaylee Drummond, Brenna Eddis, Madelynne Gibson, Brenna Gispert, Taylor Handley, Breanna Hoey, Ashlee Hofner, Sofia Magat, Magalis Mota, Gianna Postowski, Jayla Robinson, Erin Schmidt, Kelly Seklecki, Brooke Smith, Lada Sondar, Jeilynn Velez, Michela Weber and Lauren Wojnicki. The coaches are Mary-Kate Matozzo, Gina and Christa Mansi, Chelsea Kerrigan, Kristine Lemongelli and Kristen Sheeron.
The JV Brown Team members are Alyssa Baisch, Gabby Bermes, Gianna DeNofa, Grace Dolan, Erin Fitzpatrick, Victoria Gerstle, Alyssa Heron, Caitlyn Hofner, Nicole Huff, Makayle Lutey, Taylor Madison, Claudia McCabe, Ailish McDermott, Kyrsten Meder, Kaitlyn Milio, Gia Pace, Giuliana Primavera, Mackenzie Sargent, Meghan Schmidt, Kirsten Smith, Mary Kate Stine, Steph White, Taylor Wilson, Kellilyn Wissman and Jaime Yaworski. The coaches are Erin and Kelly McShea, Caitlyn Insetta, Jackie Seveland, Kristen Bieringer and Lauren Fong.
The varsity team consists of Jess Barnes, Taylor Blazejewski, Bella Carpino, Kayla Cono, Amber Dalton, Caitlyn Grailing, Hailey Guinter, Bailee Heim, Brenna Heim, Jane Hoger, Annie Kiessling, Haylie Klose, Nicole Lemerise, Hailey Lemly, Bridget Leneghan, Emily Livewell, Taylor O’Connor, Ashley Parkinson, Gianna Roddy, Nicole Smith and Juliet Tomasco. The coaches are Kristen Mahon, Mary Kate McKnight, Paul Ballentine and Lisa McNesby.