OSSINING, N.Y. -- As the Ossining Little League football team made its mark on the field, the new cheerleading squad made its mark off the field.
More than 65 cheerleaders cheered in the inaugural Ossining Little League Cheer program, cheering on the 7th and 8th grade football team that went undefeated for the first time.
"We're very proud of what's been accomplished this year," Felicia Cusano, one of the mothers involved in the program, said.
Cusano, along with Kathryn Tapia and Samantha Steinvurzel put together the program when they noticed that other teams had cheerleaders, but Ossining did not.
"It was the one thing missing," Cusano said.
The 65 girls were split into four different teams and ranged from kindergarten to 8th grade, with students from both Ossining and Briarcliff. The girls quickly gained confidence as they mastered their routines.
"They were nervous to begin with, they didn't think they could do it," Cusano said. "But they were able to get the crowd going. It was wonderful to see. There was a lot of camaraderie. They became an amazing little family.
Cusano said she hopes the program grows next year and the girls will perform more advanced stunts. Cheerleading was officially recognized as a sport by New York State this year.
"People don't believe it, but cheerleading has among the highest risk of injury," Cusano said. "The girls have to be conditioned and we start every practice with conditioning. People are starting to see it as a sport. They don't just come around, stand there and go rah rah."
Right now the cheerleading team just participates in football season but Cusano said she is hoping to make it more year round and have them participate in fundraisers and parades.
Cusano said the boys really enjoyed having cheerleaders on the sideline.
"Everyone was happy and excited," Cusano said. "The cheerleaders were just as sad as the boys when something didn't go their way. We had a banner year. I can't help but think the cheerleaders had something to do with it."
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