Wilton cheerleaders host FCIAC squads
WILTON — It wasn’t halftime at the football game. It wasn’t a timeout segment of a basketball game.
This was their time on their stage. This day was all about them.
There was a capacity crowd on hand Saturday for the 2020 FCIAC Cheerleading Championships at Wilton’s Nick Zeoli Fieldhouse.
The fans saw athleticism, precision, imagination and dedication to craft throughout the four-hour performance as the sense of empowerment was palpable in the air.
The biggest winners of the day were Danbury High School. The Hatters captured titles in the All-Girl Varsity Division, the All-Girl Junior Varsity Division and the newly-created Junior High Division.
Other teams taking home trophies included Brien McMahon (Coaching Staff of the Year), Ludlowe (Grand Champions, Co-ed Varsity Division winner), Stamford (Varsity Partner Stunt Division) and Greenwich Junior Varsity (Spirit Award).
The 20-member 2020 All-FCIAC Cheerleading team was also finalized and honored.
For the Danbury All-Girl Varsity squad, it was the Hatters’ fourth consecutive FCIAC title. They accomplished the feat despite having just one senior (co-captain Jasmine Stone) on their roster.
“It’s important to come here every year and keep this Danbury tradition going,” said Joann Tatarzycki, who has coached in the program for 16 years, including the last nine with the varsity. “To keep succeeding is thrilling. The girls do everything in their power to keep it going.”
Danbury, which won the Junior Varsity title for the second straight year and added the newly-created Junior High/Middle School crown to its collection, has a strong feeder system in place to facilitate all this cheerleading success.
“All our coaches volunteer at the middle schools. We teach the same methods year in and year out from middle school to junior varsity to varsity,” Tatarzycki said. “The girls know exactly what we want, and they buy into the program.”
Cheerleading can be a 12-month sport. From tryouts in May, summer camp, football games along with weight training and conditioning.
“It takes dedication to succeed,” Tatarzycki said.
That’s why raising the championship trophy while proud parents take photos is so satisfying.
“The trophy and the championship banners in our gym show the hard work and time we put in was worth it,” Danbury senior co-captain Jasmine Stone said. “Fighting through the pressure to win four straight titles is a privilege. Each team becomes a family with a very tight bond. We do it for each other.”
“The whole town is behind us. It’s a community event,” Danbury junior co-captain Avery Marquis said. “Cheerleading is about trust and dedication. And it’s cool to know that we will always be part of Danbury High School athletic history.”
Unified Teams from Wilton, Trumbull and Ridgefield as well as two Norwalk Youth squads performed. The event was capped by an exhibition from the UCA National champion Sacred Heart University cheerleaders.