The Staples cheerleading squad is on the rise. Staples had its best finish at the FCIAC championships in recent memory and hopes to carry its momentum into next weekend's State tournament and one of its cheerleaders, junior Neva Sanfilippo successfully try out for the FCIAC All-Star team.

Sanfilippo earned All-FCIAC by displaying passion, a strong voice and most important of all, a bright smile. She also stuck her jumps and nailed her tumbling passes, including a few back tucks. During her invocation to the crowd, she exhorted, "Staples Wreckers, the best is yet to come, S-H-S, look out for No. 1. She then asked the crowd who's the best from S-H-S and they all yelled, "Neva."

"It was definitely my goal as a freshman to try out for All-FCIAC and it was a great experience and honor to be All-FCIAC," Sanfilippo said. "I was very nervous but my teammates encouraged me, which helped. My coach made up a good cheer and I was able to practice it."

The Lady Wreckers turned in a strong routine and hit most of their passes to finish in eighth place, placing them in the top half of the 16-team field. They enthusiastically entered the floor and had poised expressions in how they looked at each other.

In performing the routine, Staples did well in devising pyramids and held up its flyers well, who executed the tumbling passes. The Lady Wreckers stuck their jumps and tumbling passes and were vocal in encouraging the crowd by chanting, "Staples Wreckers, the best. Blue, silver and white, the colors you fear. S-H-S, this is our year and the Wreckers."

"We did very well," senior captain Hannah East said.

Although Staples did well for the most part, it wasn't perfect and suffered one fall.

"We tried our best and some things just didn't hit," senior captain Brooke Kranz said. "The other teams were really good. We thought we could have done better but we fell on one of our stunts and we hope to do better at our next meet."

Senior captain Jourdan Friedman said, "I thought we could have done better and there's room for improvement but I'm proud of the team because it's our best placement in recent history."

First-year Coach Jocylyn Sadlon is credited for the squad's improvement. Sadlon has brought a permanence to the Lady Wreckers, who had three head coaches since the 2005-06 season, including two midseason coaching changes in that period.

"She has definitely brought us stability and we have improved a lot," Friedman said. "We have a competition this weekend [the Danbury Invitational] and hopefully, it will help us for States."

Although doing well at Danbury is big, it's not as meaningful as next weekend's state meet.

"We have to work very hard, stay focused and hopefully, we'll go out at States and do our best," East said.

Kranz said, "We will definitely do better at States because we've been working hard the last few weeks. Our coach and the whole team are confident we'll do better at States. She [Sadlon] has definitely made our team a lot better."

Also on the team are senior captain Rebeca Teplitz, juniors Carolyn Hamm, Holly Stewart, Lindsay Nelson and Kate Warren, sophomores Ilana Bernstein, Julianna Lametta, Jacquelyn Fritz, Anna Gerla and Mikaela Kirby and freshmen Paige Cooper, Olivia Stanley, Jasmine Henry, Zoe Googe, Alexa Casimir, Hannah Weinberg and Maddy Mann.