EDISON — On Sunday, Feb. 24, the entire cheerleading program from The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison traveled to the Fairleigh Dickenson University Hackensack campus to compete in the UCC Eastern States Cheerleading Championships.
The day started bright and early with a 7 a.m. meeting at school to get organized and on the bus.
“Waking up that early was definitely worth when you see all the hardware we brought home,” said Wardlaw-Hartridge head coach Tanda Tucker, who is stepping down as varsity coach after 13 years.
The middle school team brought home six of seven overall championships in the individual events. More impressive is that Briella Payami of Scotch Plains and Carlin Schildge of Westfield each received a score of 88 tying them for the highest score in the individual events out of all the competitors.
The middle school girls did a great job in the team events placed in the second degree of excellence in the Dance Drill event and first degree of excellence in the Team Cheer event. At the end of the day, with all their scores combined, they were awarded Grand All-States Champions.
The varsity cheer team had some big shoes to fill and although they did not win grand champs, they did capture two overall team events as well in three individual events. Valentina Margiottiello of Colonia was named overall champion in the individual cheer event. Yulemni Morel of Plainfield was named overall champion in the individual Dance Drill event and her score of 97 was the highest score of all 40 events of the entire day.
Margiottiello and Morel were also overall champions in the Double Drill dance event. Although Wardlaw-Hartridge placed in the second degree of excellence in the Team Pom Pom and Team Dance Drill events, the Rams were named the overall champions in both the small varsity team cheer and the varsity co-ed cheer/dance event.
“It was truly a great performance and we left it all on the mat and performed to our best ability,” Morel said. “It was a great honor to have been Miss Tucker’s last squad and with that performance I really believe that we made her proud. It was a great way to end the season.”
Other Wardlaw-Hartridge cheerleaders who were crowned overall champions include middle schoolers Hannah Yates of Piscataway and Lauren Kisare of Bridgewater (Cheer – Doubles), Carlin Schildge of Westfield and Sydney Rose of North Plainfield (Pom Pom – Doubles), Logan Hill of Dayton and Rose (Drill Dance – Doubles) and Naya Shim of Warren, Schildge and Samantha Anastasiou of Scotch Plains (Dance Drill – Triples).
(Photo courtesy of Wardlaw-Hartridge)