TUCKAHOE, N.Y. - The Tuckahoe Tiger cheerleading squad was once again in the spotlight this week, as local officials heaped praise on what is believed to be the village’s first national championship team in any sport.
In just their second year competing in at Walt Disney World at the National High School Cheerleading Championship in Florida, the Tigers shook off last year’s fifth place finish - earning top honors amongst the nation’s top 20 teams en route to a gold medal in the Senior Rec Division in Orlando.
With a routine described as “flawless,” by coach David Anthony Pope, the Tigers didn’t stop there, with their performance earning them a silver medal versus visiting nations from around the world, losing only to a team they had beaten in the national title championship.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in with them just yet. that they’re national champions,” Pope said. “These girls are between 11 and 14-years-old. Not many people can walk around at that age and claim that they’re a national champion.”
Tuckahoe Mayor Steve Ecklond lauded the accomplishments of the student-athletes, marveling that a group of girls in a village of barely 5,000 people would be named “the best cheerleaders in the entire United States of America.”
“Tuckahoe is a small little village. When you think of all the towns and villages in America, we’re about as small you you’re going to find. And these girls are the best in the country,” he said. “I want to thank them for representing our village, and giving us that extra bit of polish that Tuckahoe can always use. These girls really shined this year and made us look great.”
Donning their victory white jackets for the national title, the Tuckahoe Tigers cheerleaders did a short impromptu cheer for a capacity crowd at Village Hall before being awarded certificates from Sen. George Latimer’s office by Eastchester Councilman Luigi Marcoccia, who was representing an under-the-weather Town Supervisor Anthony Colavita.
“It’s so impressive what these girls have been able to accomplish. To be number one in the nation is unbelievable, and to be number two in the world is incredible,” Marcoccia said. “More than anything, (they’ll) remember that this wasn’t an individual effort, but it was done as a team. (These girls) are always going to look back on this group that got it done for the first time in the history of Tuckahoe with fond memories.”