Flashback Friday is looking back at the top moments from the 2018-19 athletic year each Friday over the summer at the College of Staten Island. Coming in at number six is one of CSI’s three CUNYAC Championships this past year, when on the court of York College, the CSI Cheerleading team swept the field and claimed the crown, doing it in back-to-back fashion for the first time in their history.
#6 – CSI Cheerleading wins CUNYAC Championship
Date: March 7, 2019
Who: CSI Cheerleading
Where: York College – Jamaica, NY
What Happened: In front of a crowded house at York College in early-March, Cheerleading earned top honors, taking home the CUNYAC Championship after a great performance against a selection of five conference schools. It was CSI’s first-ever back-to-back Championship in CUNYAC. CSI also swept the individual championships as well in Stunting Jumping, and Tumbling.
Q&A…with Alyssa Dunn
Alyssa, 2019 concluded a great run for you personally, and for CSI Cheer with the back-to-back title. How impressed were you by the team’s performance?
Becoming a champion is not easy and CSI cheer being able to win the championship two years in a row was an amazing accomplishment. I was extremely impressed by the way that the team performed especially facing injuries of some athletes the few weeks before the championship.
Cheerleading is one of those sports where people really only get to see the final result. Tell me a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes. What’s the practice and training like for a sport like Cheer?
Practices for cheerleading are intense. You work for hours to perfect something that you only have approximately two minutes and thirty seconds to show the crowd. You need to be in really good shape and that involves working out outside of your regular practices because there just isn’t enough time to do it all. Cheerleading is also not one of those sports where someone can skip out on practice because it isn’t an efficient practice if even just one person is missing.
You’re a two-sport star at CSI as you also were a diver for the Swim & Dive team. How has being a two-sport star helped you personally be a top performer in each?
Cheerleading and Diving are very similar in the aspect of knowing exactly what to do with each muscle in your body at every second. They went hand-in-hand for me. Cheerleading helped me to become a top performer in diving since I was already doing all of those flips on a solid ground it was easier for me to do it while jumping into the pool. I feel as though participating in both sports at the same time kept me more motivated.
Fast forward to the Championship. It must be an incredibly nervous time – one night to showcase all of the team’s talents. How does the team stay composed enough to perform the way they do?
It is one of the most nervous time of the year the few minutes before you are about to perform. Everyone has their own way of relaxing their nerves. Mine is to listen to a certain playlist that I put together that keeps my energy going and my nerves calm. I always try to say to my teammates that we are just putting on a show and people are excited to watch so just do your best. Whatever happens on the mat we know it was the best we can perform and that’s all that matters.
During the routine itself, how impressed were you with how it went? A lot of the spectators don’t see or aren’t aware of things that may go wrong. In your opinion, did you guys really nail it?
I was definitely impressed with how it went but there were quite a few things that went wrong. Most of the spectators wouldn’t understand the minor details of things so it may seem like we were perfect but we weren’t. As I said we did the best that we could and that was after overcoming problems that we faced in the last few weeks before the competition.
The Championship also features tumbling, jumping, and stunting, and you were a factor in those individual elements as well. What did you perform in and how happy were you with the performances?
I performed in the tumbling and stunting competitions as well. Although the stunt competition could have gone a little bit better than it did, I was still impressed by how well we did. We incorporated a lot of skill, including things that weren’t in our team routine. It required its own amount of practice aside from our team routine practices. Tumbling was an individual competition and I was impressed with how I performed. Tumbling has always been something that comes very natural to me.
I think most people knew that CSI was going to be strong coming in, but still it has to be an awesome feeling to hear your name called as a conference champion. Can you explain the feeling?
I don’t think you could ever explain the feeling of becoming a conference champion until you experience it. It is one of the most amazing feelings knowing that all of the hard work you put into something was worth it in the end. There are so many things that happen behind the scenes and it can become extremely stressful. You have one shot to show everyone that you can get it right. The fact that we were able to pull off the routine is an absolutely amazing feeling.
As if that weren’t thrilling enough, you were named the MVP of the showcase as well. How awesome was that?
Being named the MVP of the showcase is something that I also cannot put in to words. It was definitely one of the best moments of my life. I know I can be really hard on myself sometimes but all of the hard work I put in paid off. I have never been prouder of myself. It was a great way to end my athletic career at CSI.
You concluded your career in 2018-19. Can you put into words what being a Dolphin has meant to you these past years as a two-sport star?
Being a Dolphin is something that I will take with me throughout my whole life. I wouldn’t be where I was today if it wasn’t for the CSI Athletics Department. I always felt like I was at home when I was in the gym, whether I was working out, at practice, or studying upstairs in the lounge. I have made relationships that will last forever. I will miss being in the gym all the time but I know I will always have a home at CSI.