By Alexa Sibilio, Special to The Chronicle
Five Hofstra cheerleaders were chosen to represent the United States of America at the International Cheerleading Union (ICU) World Championships of Cheerleading this past weekend, April 23, in Orlando, Florida. Hofstra's own Samantha Montemurro, Arianna Scanlon, Brittany Schoenig, Alexa Sibilio, and Alie Sturchio were among the twenty-four cheerleaders from across the country that made up the all-girl Team USA cheer team.
The quest for the gold began April 11, in Marietta, Georgia. This was the first time the twenty-four girls ever met each other. From this day until the World Competition, the team practiced twice a day, everyday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. to create and master a two minute and thirty second World Championship winning cheerleading routine.
Our five Hofstra girls were the only New Yorkers on the team, as the squad was filled with mostly southerners. There were girls from at least twelve different states, representing universities from all over our country.
This is only the second year that the World Cheerleading Championships have taken place, and the USA has managed to win and defend the gold for the past two years. Cheerleading has grown so much over the past decade, and may someday be considered an Olympic sport. "World's" was created as an aid to someday achieve the goal of cheerleading being recognized as an Olympic sport.
After a ten-hour bus ride from Georgia to Disney, there was a block party where every country mingled, danced, and listened to music together. Teams also exchanged mementos like t-shirts, flag key chains, pins, and other souvenirs from their country with one another. "This whole experience was life-changing, and I made some amazing friends that I will never forget," says Brittany Schoenig.
The competition took place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in at the Milkhouse Arena in Disney. On the morning of the competition, each of the 87 countries competing was announced as the teams carried out their flags onto the cheer mat. Team USA competed at 3pm and delivered a gold-medal winning performance.
All the other countries were in awe of the USA team and asked to take pictures with the girls every chance they could get. "This was a once in a life-time opportunity that I am so lucky to have been able to be apart of. Our Hofstra Cheerleading Coach can be credited for helping us make the team and bringing the opportunity to us," said Arianna Scanlon. "We felt like celebrities being down there, every other country wanted to take pictures with us! It was an amazing feeling."
Varsity TV followed the team from Georgia to Disney World and if anyone wishes to learn more about our five Hofstra girls' experience, they can find all the footage on varsity.com.