BEDFORD, N.Y. -- There's one Fox Lane team that regularly spends its practices throwing each other around.
The Fox Lane varsity cheerleading team is gearing up for the 2013 fall season. The cheerleading team performs at all Fox Lane football games, home and away, and also competes in sectionals, where it finished first last year.
The team consists of 19 girls and one boy and is coached by Jen Mascolo, who is entering her third year.
While many people think of cheerleading as pompoms and "Ready? Okay!", the Fox Lane cheerleading team is more than that, doing elaborate routines and flips that require strength and often can lead to injury.
"People are beginning to realize how hard this is," Mascolo said. "We're getting a lot more respect. The athletic director treats us like we're any other sport."
Mascolo said when the trainer was going over concussion protocol, he said cheerleading ranked ahead of football. Despite the bumps and bruises, Mascolo said they keep things as safe as can be.
"We are very safe," Mascolo said. "As safe as possible. We learn things from the ground up."
Mascolo said they take their role as in-game entertainment very seriously.
"We work together as a team," Mascolo said. "I tell them that the way they practice is the way they perform. They are 19 sisters and one brother."
Mascolo says having Donovan Beauford, a senior, on the team, gives them new strength and allows them to do new routines. It also means when they compete in sectionals, they compete in the co-ed divisions.
Sabrina Simpson and Francesca Bueti are two of the co-captains of the team and said they are excited for the upcoming campaign.
"We have improved a lot from last year," Simpson said, praising the juniors that have joined the team. "There are no cliques or feuds. We all get along."
Bueti said the team knows to leave its problems at the door and credited an NCAA cheerleading camp the team went to in Pennsylvania in August with helping them get ready for the fall.
"We have a lot more strength," Bueti said. "We are all super conditioned and in really good shape. Everything we do is very choreographed."
Brenna Caico, another captain, said she finds cheerleading to be fun, and looks forward to the team's competitions.
"Cheerleading is really exciting," Cacio said. "It requires a lot of trust and a lot of hard work."
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