Abington Junior Comets cheerleaders excel at competition


First Posted: 10/3/2012

The Abington Junior Comets cheerleaders showed their skills at the annual Northern Area Junior Football League Cheer Competition in Stroudsburg Sept. 29.

Nearly 150 Abington area girls, accompanied by their coaches and families, met in the predawn hours of the damp, chilly morning. The group caravaned through the fog-filled Poconos to be hosted on the field of the Monroe Saints. The cheerleaders had been practicing an average of four nights per week since mid-July to hone their skills and perfect their routines. Ages 7-14, the girls are coached by Abington Heights High School cheerleaders and volunteer parents.

The all-day event got off to a rocky start. Wet field conditions caused a lengthy delay, which was eventually ended by a Board vote to begin. The Abington girls had more than wet grass and cold to contend with though, as one of their own, Ashley DeRiso, 12, a member of the A South team, suffered a dangerous fall from a mount.

"During the delay," Ashley's mother, Dawn DeRiso, explained, "Ashley and her teammates were warming up and running through their routines. The grass was wet which caused her to slip and fall out of a mount. She landed head first and lost consciousness briefly, but luckily there was an EMT in the crowd who checked on her. She sipped water and rested but then she became nauseous. That's when we called for the ambulance.

"The other cheerleaders were amazing," DeRiso continued. "The paramedics were stunned at how all the girls from her team and the others, reacted. They took the fallen player pose like when a football player is down on the field. Even the little C team girls were down on one knee. As they loaded her in the ambulance with her head taped to the back board, she was smiling. They were all chanting her name."

Ashley was taken to the Pocono Medical Center where she was treated for a concussion and released. On Sunday, Ashley was recuperating at home.

Abington sent six teams to the competition. The A teams are composed of girls ages 12-14 who have not yet entered high school. The B team girls range from 10-12 and the C team from 7-10. Abington has such a large number of girls in their cheerleading program that they split each age group into two teams which they label as North and South, resulting in two A teams, two B teams and two C teams.

Each team performed three cheers for the judges, the Hello cheer, the Response or Hometown cheer and the dance. The Hello cheer is customarily done at home games as a greeting to the away team. Response cheers are geared to rally hometown fans and elicit planned responses from the stands. The final, most involved and lengthy cheer is the dance routine. It is performed to upbeat music and features a variety of mounts, stunts, fast dance steps and tumbling passes.

The cheerleaders will continue to perform at the weekly Junior Comet games through the remainder of the football season.

RESULTS

Hello Cheer

A Level

1st- Abington North

2nd- North Scranton

3rd- Abington South

B Level

1st- West Scranton

2nd- Abington North

3rd- Abington South

C Level

1st-West Scranton

2nd- Abington North

3rd- North Scranton

Response Cheer

A Level

1st-Abington North

2nd- Abington South

3rd- West Scranton

B Level

1st- Abington North

2nd- West Scranton

3rd- Abington South

C Level

1st- West Scranton

2nd- Abington North

3rd- North Scranton

Dance

A Level

1st- Abington North

2nd- North Scranton

3rd- Abington South

B Level

1st- Abington North

2nd- Abington South

3rd- West Scranton

C Level

1st- Abington North & West Scranton (tie)

2nd- Abington South

3rd- Valley View