The College of Staten Island coeducational cheerleading program had a stellar faring at the 2011 CUNYAC Championship Exhibition tonight, narrowly missing a chance to take home a title with a second place finish to Brooklyn College in the yearly competition for CUNYAC supremacy. The Dolphins finished just nine points behind host Brooklyn College, who won the championship for the sixth straight year. Despite the second place finish overall, CSI swept the individual awards for jumping, tumbling, and stunting events.
After exhibition showcases by the Queens College dance team, Hunter College club program, and a routine by Staten Island’s own St. Joseph Hill Academy High School, it was time for the main event, with five CUNYAC schools vying for a shot at the title. Kingsborough Community College and York College were the first to showcase, followed by the defending-champion Bulldogs much to the delight of the home crowd. Medgar Evers College followed suit, with CSI finishing things off with a dazzling routine from start to finish.
Brooklyn and CSI had finished first and second for the past two years, and the two squads seemed to be the front-runners once again. Both squads have a great mix of tumbling, stunting, and choreography, and both squads responded well after failing to land a couple of early landings. After the event was over, it was anyone’s guess who came out on top, as evidenced by the final margin of victory and the length of time it took to declare a winner.
As the tabulations were polled, competition in other events took the floor and it was here that CSI shined brightest. In the jumping competition, CSI came in first and third place in the 14-member field. Camello Vanloo got tremendous height on his jumps which landed him a third place finish, while fellow teammate Catherine Bernardo showed perfect form on a pair of jumps followed by a backflip to win the competition.
Bernardo was aces just moments later, tumbling from corner to corner on the mat and landing her finish seamlessly to garner another gold medal when the results were tallied. Finally, in the stunting competition, CSI’s smaller foursome was incredible, holding a minute and a half routine to an almost perfect routine, winning a close competition against Brooklyn College in the event.
Finally, however, the cheers for CSI took a bittersweet turn, when the Dolphins were announced as the runner-up for the overall competition. Despite the disappointment associated with the defeat, CSI collected for a well-deserved team photo with the runner-up trophy and a chance to collect their silver medals.
The competitive phase of CSI’s season is complete, but the team still intends to stay involved with campus functions, pep rallies, and community engagement under first year Head Coach Justine Elyse Green.