Mahopac Cheerleading Competes in UCA Nationals

Credits: Photo Courtesy of Mahopac Cheerleading

ORLANDO, FL— Third-year head varsity coach and former Mahopac cheerleader Kailyn Riefenhauser never got to experience the thrill of competing at a National cheerleading competition.

Her 2016-2017 squad changed that by making the school’s first Nationals appearance since 2011-2012 in Orlando, Fla. from Feb. 9-13.

“Being on that mat in front of thousands of people was an amazing feeling,” senior cheerleader Alexis Scarnati said. “I’m so grateful that I had the chance to be a part of that.”

Sign Up for E-News

Although they only performed at semifinals, the girls stayed at Disney World resort together and competed on Saturday, Feb. 11, against teams from coast to coast.

“It was definitely worth the experience,” Riefenhauser said. “The girls all had a great time and it was exciting for their first time to see what they could do. They are ready to go back next year.”

Upon qualifying for the bid to the Nationals competition on Dec. 10 at regionals in Long Island, the Indians made the most out of their four-day trip. They enjoyed the resorts of Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.

“Together as a team, they have gotten stronger,” Riefenhauser said. “They spent four days together and didn’t even get sick of each other. This is a really good group of girls and they are fun to be around.”

A snowstorm did not allow them to return to Mahopac until 4 a.m. on Feb. 14.

Yorktown High School’s cheerleading team also reached Nationals this year, as the two neighboring districts rooted each other on throughout the affair after practicing the same morning on the All-Star Sports Resort field.

It was the finishing touch to Mahopac’s productive campaign full of excitement and success. It placed within the top-three slots in four meets this season, including a first-place showing at New Rochelle on Dec. 3.

Scarnati, who plans to major in early childhood education at Iona College next year, will certainly miss much about wearing the Indians uniform.

“It was truly an honor to win grand champs competing against all the amazing teams in Section 1,” Scarnati said. “Trying out for cheerleading in the eighth grade was the best decision of my life. Throughout my career, I have achieved things that I thought I never could. I’m so grateful to have a coach like Kailyn who helped me achieve all of my goals and make me the cheerleader I am today.” 

Hosting its own competition of 29 teams from both Sections 1 and 9 at the high school on Jan. 14, the team raised sufficient funds for its trip to Florida.

“We have a young team that is growing,” Riefenhauser said. “They are a tumbling team, which is kind of new for Mahopac. But in the past few years, we have had the majority tuck instead.”

Not finished yet, the Indians wrapped up a progressive season with a sectional competition held at White Plains High School.

“This team continues to surprise me every day,” senior cheerleader Kara DiGregorio said. “We’ve come such a long way and I couldn’t be prouder of everyone’s accomplishments. The girls on this team are very hard workers and we also motivate each other to be the best that we can be.”

Similar to last season, the underclassmen-heavy Indians will attend UCA camp this August in Pennsylvania to prepare for a repeat. Open gym already kicks off in late April, as Mahopac will get ready for cheerleading season once again.

“The most memorable part about my high school career would be cheering at football games and listening to the heartwarming speeches that the girls made for the seniors,” DiGregorio said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


I Do Not Make Stuff Up!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in my column, “Watergate analogies apply to Obama, not Trump,” that President Obama’s Justice Department planted a spy in the Trump campaign. I said I used the term “spy” because this was a counter-intelligence operation, not a criminal investigation, where the term informant would have been proper.

That statement has been brought ...

Here's What You Missed Last Week

Last week, the Daily News ran a headline, “When is our father coming home?” This dealt with a person here illegally, married to an American woman with a family, who was arrested at an Army base while delivering pizza. You are supposed to think that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under Trump, is tearing families apart. As usual, it was a crock of cow pies. It was ...

Reagan on Trump

The party of “Honest Abe” has now become the party of Dishonest Don, and what follows are some disturbing displays of a Republican Party that has become devoid of conscience:

• More than 4,600 American citizens dead in Puerto Rico—a postscript to the government’s abysmal response to the widespread devastation of Hurricane Maria; 
• The underhanded ...

The Rich Get Richer, and We’re Paying For It

According to a Harvard University study published late last year, most Americans believe that the richest 20 percent of Americans own just half of the nation’s wealth. Wrong! The top 20 percent own 93 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the top 1 percent own 40 percent of that wealth. Additionally, the top 10 percent of earners in 2017 took home more than half the nation’s ...

What Kind of Sports Parent Are You?

Social media recently showered a lot of likes and love on a high school pitcher in Minnesota whose team was playing in a regional final that would send the winning team to the state championship game.

After the last batter of the game struck out, the pitcher did something unheard of. Rather than spontaneously join his teammates in an on-field celebration, as is customary, the pitcher ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, June 27, 9:00 AM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

PCDOH Free HIV Testing Day

Health & Wellness