Cheerleading: Injuries hound Settlers at small-schools meet

The Southold High School cheerleading team, it seems, is in a state of flux because of injuries and illness. They prompt changes in lineups and routines on what seems like a weekly basis.

That isn’t easy.

“Between injuries and girls getting sick, we are constantly having to change our routine because we have such a small team, so we don’t have a lot of alternates, and we possibly have to change our routine every time someone gets hurt or gets sick,” coach Alissa Fragoletti said. “So, a lot of ups and downs and a lot of changes, but they always roll with the punches and they work their best.”

Olivia Lynch, a senior back, said: “It’s always like that. It’s just the nature of the sport, you know. That’s just how it is.”

Southold was missing something Saturday: the sort of routine that would bag the First Settlers a top-three place in a Section XI Small Division II competition at Rocky Point High School.

“It was one stunt we didn’t hit perfectly,” said Fragoletti, whose team finished sixth for the third time in four Section XI competitions (it was eighth in the other). “I know they’ve been trying really hard; they’ve been working really hard. They’ve improved so much throughout the season and I’m really proud of them.”

To nab a top-three spot, Fragoletti said, “they pretty much have to hit a perfect routine, lots of energy, smiles. All the little details count. They have to make sure that all their stunts hit perfectly. These girls have so much dedication and they work so hard every day, and I believe in them, and I know they can get there.”

Sayville came in first, Hampton Bays second (with only six cheerleaders) and Miller Place third.

Southold freshman flyer Maya Reilly said the First Settlers haven’t been doing as well as they want, “but we do our best every time. I think that if we all work really well together and try our hardest, we can do really well.”

Lynch said: “We didn’t get a perfect routine like we wanted to, but we definitely have made improvements throughout the season. We’re slowly improving. There’s a lot of young talent on the team and I’m really excited for them to really improve the program because they all care about it so much.”

With two Section XI competitions remaining at Commack and Smithtown West in advance of the county championships Feb. 15 at Smithtown East, Southold has more opportunities to perfect its routines. In the meantime, Fragoletti takes pleasure in how the Settlers have handled themselves.

“They have such a strong bond with each other and they get along really well and they’re always so positive,” she said. “There’s never any negativity towards each other. Even when they get frustrated, they always want to build each other up, and that’s always really nice to see.”