CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- The cheerleaders at Hendrick Hudson High School have had Nov. 8 circled on the calendar for months.
Hendrick Hudson is hosting a cheerleading showdown and sectionals competition at the high school on Saturday. The competition begins at 2:30 p.m. with Hendrick Hudson competing first.
Eighteen other schools are participating in the event. At 10 a.m., the cheerleaders are hosting the first annual Sailor Spirit Showdown, a competition featuring little girls recreation teams up to the junior varsity team.
The event is also a fundraiser for the cheerleading team. The team is trying to raise money to go to nationals in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Cheerleading was recently recognized as a sport by New York State.
The team, which features 28 girls, has been practicing since August. The girls cheer at football games, home basketball games and participate in numerous community events.
"They are a busy bunch," coach Nicole Selvaggi-Landry, a former Hen Hud cheerleader, said. "This team is the closest of close. They are like a family. They are with each other more than their own families."
Selvaggi-Landry said she and the team have had a vision of hosting their own cheerleading competition for months and said the sport has received a boost by the state's recognition.
"It's led to bigger and better opportunities," Selvaggi-Landry said. "It shows that people appreciate our hard work."
The coach said she has been proud of the progress the team has made since practice began in August.
Co-captains Lauren Kearney, Antonia Dolan and Gabby Esposito said they couldn't be more excited for Saturday's event.
"This is a great way to kick off our senior year," Esposito said.
Dolan said her friends are looking forward to seeing her perform while Kearney said they have invited the football team to come cheer them on.
"This is a big deal," Dolan said.
Kearney said the competition allows them the opportunity to show people they do more than just stand on the sideline and cheer.
"It's so much different at a competition," Kearney said. "We've done so much work. These stunts are really hard."
Esposito said they hope people will appreciate cheerleading more.
"It's not just 5-6-7-8," Espositio said. "This is not something that everyone can do."
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