Penfield cheer wins first-ever county title as head coach delivers third child

High School Sports

April 17 is a day the Penfield cheer program will never forget

PENFIELD, N.Y. (WROC) — Before the Patriots took the mat on Saturday morning for counties, they found out Head Coach Jessica Bucinell was in labor and would be unable to attend the competition.

The Penfield coaching staff knew she was having contractions around 3 a.m., but was unsure if she would be at the hospital for long.

“I ended up Facetiming the whole team to tell them I wasn’t going to be there as I was in a hospital gown,” said Bucinell. “They were like ‘you can do this!’ and told me this was for me.”

Bucinell’s son RJ was born at 11:09 a.m. and Penfield did their routine 41 minutes later.

“I was laying on the operating table watching the livestream, yelling hooting and hollering with my husband and the anesthesiologist,” said Bucinell. “By the time they wheeled me into recovery, it was time for awards. I just was elated. I had my newborn baby son in my hands, and I watched my team win the first counties in school history.”

The team wanted to celebrate with their coach from afar, so JV Coach Kelly Horowitz suggested they bring the plaque to the hospital. The girls showed up and showed it off outside of Bucinell’s recovery room window.

“It was an amazing feeling. She was as much of the win as we were, so we had to go see her,” said senior captain Jaiden Jurgensen. “We couldn’t have done it without her so being able to share that with her, even if she was in the hospital was great.”

The countdown to sectionals is on, and Bucinell is back in the gym to help her girls prepare for a shot at the title.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of someone leaving the hospital early after a C-section so she could come back to practice,” said senior captain Melanie Heidman. “I know she’s really proud of us and we’re really proud of her.”

She only missed Monday’s practice because she was discharged from the hospital too close to the beginning of practice time. Winning sectionals after a shortened COVID-19 season would mean the world to the team.

“Being the first team to win sectionals and counties ever would be something amazing,” said Heidman. “My senior year I always wanted to go out with a bang and counties was the first step to that. Winning sectionals would be more than the cherry on top, it would be a dream come true.”

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