With anticipation creeping and excitement building, the Endicott cheer team finished seventh overall at the DIII Collegiate Championship in early April.

The group finished with an impressive score of 86.74 in the final round of the competition and left Daytona Beach with their heads held high.

The team traveled to the Sunshine state with hopes of collecting a first place finish, which they were unfortunately unable to do. However, the group combined both a positive mindset to go along with relentless preparation, resulting in a top 10 performance.

No matter the sport, teams will always face barriers throughout a season. For the cheerleading team, the group dealt with injuries, travel, and 11 other opponents to collect their seventh place finish.

Much of the success of this season should be rewarded to first year coach Jenn Riley. Hired last June, Riley made it a priority to not only achieve success within the program, but to do so in high spirits. According to senior Maddison Reyes, Riley’s debut season was able to accomplish both of those goals.

“Coach Riley has added much enthusiasm and excitement as it’s her first season at Endicott,” said Reyes. “She’s been preaching us to believe in ourselves as well as each other in order to be successful.”

Reyes not only serves as a veteran presence for the group, but is also the team captain. With the title of captain, one should not only perform to the best of their ability on a daily basis, but should spread their wisdom to every other member of the team. Whether it’s on or off the field, or in or out of the locker room, Reyes made it a priority to keep the team focused on what they’re expected to do.

“Whether it be a workout that I’ve completed or a motivational quote I find, I always post it on our team group chat. This encourages others to do the same and put in extra work outside of practice,” said Reyes.

Reyes may be the captain, but the roster is comprised of 11 upperclassmen. This is an advantage both mentally and physically, as knowledge can be contagious and wise preparation can be replicated.

“Having 11 upperclassmen is a great asset to help our team grow. Upperclassmen are utilized to provide guidance and inspiration for underclassmen as they too lead by example,” said Reyes.

Leadership and preparation are of course key assets that go into a successful team. With vocal leaders who perform by example, a cycle of trust and consistency is created. That being said, a quality in which Reyes stresses perhaps the most is cohesiveness and the will to work as a collective unit.

“Cheerleading is a true team sport. Without one athlete, the routine can’t exist properly… We’ve found that the key to working together is to all be on the same page and share the same attitude on the mat,” said Reyes.

Reyes may not be able to dress in the blue and green next season, but her behaviors and qualities will not be forgotten. The team often uses the quote “Remember who you are doing it for, as usually it is not yourself, but another teammate” to remind them of how to succeed. The team will return next season in an effort to build off of what was created in the 2018-19 season.