Competitive cheer is the only high-risk sport in New York that has two seasons of competitions. In a normal athletic calendar, sectionals take place in October and February before the state championship in March. This year, cheer coaches across New York have no idea what the plan is going to be for competition.
Shelly Caamano, Hilton cheer coach, believes if the season was not delayed, the fall would have been practice only. With the NYSPHSAA decision to postpone, there are a lot of questions about how the Fall Sports Season II will be utilized.
“Is it really just going to be an extension of the winter season or separate season with a separate tryout?,” asked Caamano. “Are we going to lose kids to another sport in that time frame where we would need that time to adjust routines and things like that?”
After examining the current calendar, Caamano feels the state championship in the longer winter season would be more beneficial. A regular summer training schedule would be substituted with offseason conditioning work in the fall, and winter championships would mean a more clear cut path to the season’s end.
Caamano has hosted Zoom trainings since the spring with her girls, who have been practicing jumping and tumbling on their own. Stunting is the biggest question surrounding cheer skills and the upcoming winter season.
Routines are scored on skills like stunting, jumps, and tumbling. She believes there could have been a phasing approach this fall when it comes to stunting. That idea could still exist depending on the high-risk sport guidelines that will be released for the winter sports.
“Cheerleading’s just not cheerleading without stunting,” Camaano. “If our fall season was just going to be us focused on training, not stunting, I would’ve preferred to have it moved. I think they’d postpone or cancel before they adjusted such a big part of cheerleading.”
Scorecards could be adjusted to value other skills and categories if stunting were completely eliminated for the 2021 cheer seasons, but coaches will have to wait and see as the state releases high-risk guidelines for winter sports later on.