Southgate Viking cheerleaders shine during postseason

Back row: Junior Varsity Coach Bre Unis (left), Head Coach Colette Norscia, Paige Kruzak, Lexi Hall, Emi Gardner, Kaileigh Willenbacher, Brinlee Kennedy, Junior Varsity Coach Alexis Newman; center row: Brooklyn Johnson (left), Ariel Worley, Bella Strong, Reecie Hughes, Miranda Wade and Grace Phillips; front row: Mia Szczepanski (left), Lydia Duran, Abigail Morris, Ella Doddie and Alivia Downs

Tom Tigani
– Southgate Star

It’s one thing for football teams to succeed, but how about when your cheerleaders are league leaders at the same time?

Southgate Junior Football Association varsity and freshman cheerleaders finished first in the 2019 Downriver Junior Football League Cheer Competition, adding a little icing on the cake to the on-field success of the varsity, JV and freshman Vikings. (See related story.)

“By far this was our most successful season,” said cheerleading Coach Colette Norscia, who’s been coaching in the city program for the last four years.

Cheerleaders in the competition were judged on choreography, particular skills chosen from a list, a certain amount of difficulty for each skill, and crowdline callback (in which cheerleaders try to elicit responses from the crowd).

Norscia began her coaching career in 1991 at Christ the Good Shepherd in Lincoln Park moved later to Aquinas High School before ultimately landing at Southgate Anderson High School 1998, where she’s still coaching.

As with the SJFA football players, organization members keep an eye toward developing talent for the city’s middle school and high school cheerleading programs

Southgate Junior Football Association Junior Varsity Coaches Nadia Redd (back row, left) and Chloe Wolske; Assistant Coach Hailey Wright; Head Coach Tammy Morris; Assistant Coach Sue Patton; Junior Coaches Alexis Morris, Liz LeBeau and Taiya Patton; Athletes Savanna Adkins,Maya Gomez, Elliannah Bermudez, Anna Kapanowski, Lily Cheeney, Makenzi Kuderik, Addison Czentnar, Kendall Loria, Emma Franklin, Cailyn Pattenaude, Sydney Frump, Jurneigh Walerski, Alana Gomez and Peyton Wittenburg.

“We worked on skills, timing and technique this year,” Norscia said. “What we really wanted was to get this program in gear, so that when they get to middle school and high school, we don’t have to re-teach the basics.”

One might think that her day job keeps her busy enough, but she said that transferring her skills to helping younger cheerleaders was a natural progression; her sons, Ian and Isaac, along with her husband, Erik, all have been or still are involved with the SJFA as players or coaches.

“I figured I’m there in the stands anyway, so I might as well help,” Colette Norscia said, adding that other association members have been similarly giving with their time and talents.

“It’s fantastic,” she said. “Our whole program is loaded with generous volunteers. Over half of the high school girls are helping coach the junior (Vikings) team.

“This year it’s really about the pride, and about watching the kids succeed, seeing how far they’ve come.”

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