The Peconic Panthers youth football team may have some new competition.
Cheerleaders will soon be claiming the sidelines at the peewee football teams’ home games, claiming the attention of parents and spectators with their cheers and a halftime show.
Two cheerleading coaches from Riverhead High School started North Fork Cheer, which gives girls in Mattituck, Southold and Greenport the chance to learn how to cheer at a young age. Those school districts do not offer cheerleading until junior high or high school.
The earlier girls learn to cheer the better, said Lauren Berry, co-owner of North Fork Cheer and coach of Riverhead’s junior varsity squad. In Riverhead, girls have the opportunity to begin cheering at age 5.
Ms. Berry and Stephanie Piraino, varsity cheerleading coach and a Riverhead ninth-grade English teacher, said they hope the program will help the North Fork’s high school cheerleading teams stack up against other skilled Long Island cheering squads.
North Fork Cheer is open to girls ages 5 to 17 and offers instruction on safe techniques, dances and cheers.