F-M cheerleaders set to compete nationally

Tami Rigling just finished her second year coaching the Fayetteville-Manlius cheerleaders, and the cheerleaders just won the Section III Championship -- for its second year in a row.

"I am very proud to say that in my two years coaching, we have won our division both years," Rigling said. "This is particularly exciting since other than these two wins, F-M has only won it one other time. "

The team's aspirations don't stop at the local level. They attend national competitions, too, such as last year's NCA Big Apple U.S. Championship, which was held in New York City. It was another huge win for the girls.

How do they do it? With a lot of practice, according to their coach.

"The team typically practices [for two hours] every weekday during season unless there is a game," she said, adding that the season lasts longer than most high school sports, from August through March if cheering for both football and basketball, which most girls do.

Tumbling, as well as strength and conditioning classes, also help keep the team fit on and off season.

"Suffice to say, the girls work very hard," she said.

This year, the Bowl Games of America contacted Rigling and invited them to compete in the "Americheer First Annual Gator Bowl National Competition." The team will participate in the Gator Bowl Halftime Show Finale to be televised nationally on New Year's Day.

"It is an understatement to say that the team is quite excited," she said.

Since the team cannot officially start working on new routines until August, the 20 Varsity cheerleaders are focusing on physical fitness and fundraising. Their first event, a garage sale and car wash, will be held between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, June 21 at the F-M District Office in front of the high school.

"I have been very fortunate to always have a group of girls that are hardworking, dedicated and fun to be around," Rigling said. "I am looking forward to what our new season will bring."

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