Jan. 4 – Two local school districts agreed to combine their cheerleading programs this season, allowing three students from Barker Central School District to attend gameday performances and compete in tournaments with students from Royalton-Hartland Central School District.
Erica Maslowski was named the team’s coach and said the students were doing well. Her choreography is well advanced, she said, and would be competitive in meetings with teams from other districts.
The first competition for this season is January 21 against the North Tonawanda team for the Winter Cheer Off.
Cheerleading isn’t the only sport Roy-Hart has shared with other districts. Notably, wrestling has been shared between the two schools for seven years, giving Zach Hill, a student of Barker’s, the opportunity to go to the state tournament last year, an accomplishment his coach Matt McCauley said, “No easy thing .”
“It was good for the students,” McCauley said. “Not many kids take part, but those who do are glad they’re there.”
Maslowski said that apart from the initial start-up, everything went well.
“However, it was difficult to find a place to practice,” she said.
Maslowski said the students were picked up from Barker at 3 p.m. to Roy Hart High School, along with members of the swim team who are also shared with the Roy Hart District, and then again driven to Roy Hart Elementary School for gym training since the high school gym already was occupied.
Despite this, the extended cheerleading team with an adult Pilates class bumped into the library because they needed space to practice pyramids and other formations.
While Maslowski has no coaching experience — she’s a fourth-grade elementary school teacher — she graduated from Royalton-Hartland and has been on the cheer team during the day and loves the chance to help. She also noted that Barker’s three cheerleaders perform beautifully and the entire team calls their toddler Lila their “baby.”
“We’re going to get her a little cheerleading outfit,” Maslowski said.
Sporting director John Grzymala said he believes the joint sporting program will continue to be successful.
“It gives the kids a chance to play and compete,” said Grzymala. “The friendships and connections they make will be something they carry on.”