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After years of petitioning, cheerleading has been recognized as an official sport by the state, meaning that after this transition season, it will have all the bells and whistles and glory that come with the designation: Long Island championships, regional finals and a state tournament, said Todd Nelson, associate director for the state high school athletics association.
The best of Long Island cheer will take to the mat Saturday and Sunday in a final Long Island Cheerleading Coaches Association showdown -- one of the last few transitions from club competition as cheerleading continues its ascension to a state-recognized varsity sport.
The Pirates captured their second straight state championship last month at Sullivan Community College in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y., amusing the judges and fans almost as much as they amused themselves.
Mount Sinai, which created its own music on the way to its first title, won the Large Varsity Division II category, and cheer dynasty Rocky Point won its third in four years, in Medium Varsity Division II
Do not be fooled by the glitter, ribbons and toothy smiles. The girls and boys competing in the 19th iteration of the Long Island Cheerleading Coaches Association (LICCA) Cheerleading Championship are serious athletes.