One mistake can make the difference between a good score and a bad score. The Staples cheerleading team found that out at FCIACs and hope it won't repeat history tomorrow when it competes in the Class LL championship meet at the New Haven Athletic Center.

Staples showed its enthusiasm and performed a clean routine at the FCIAC championships Feb. 6 in which it enthusiastically chanted, stuck its jumps and had great transition. However, a Lady Wrecker stepped on the placards that the cheerleaders were going to hold up, which earned the squad a major deduction and limited Staples to 11th place.

"I was ecstatic on how well we did," Lady Wreckers Coach Amanda Giudice said. "Unfortunately, we had issues of someone stepping on the sign, but other than that, they hit all their stunts and were amazing."

After this miss-step, Staples showed poise in holding up four different signs, that said, "ST-AP-LE-S" while chanting "we're the best of the rest, second to none" and then held out four different letters, B-E-S-T.

"Unfortunately, we had a huge deduction for a stupid mistake but I'm proud of the team for how we performed and we performed well all season," Lady Wreckers senior co-captain Neva Sanfilippo said.

Staples senior co-captain Lindsay Nelson said, "We were really excited to compete but disappointed with how we placed, but we did great overall. We were happy with our stunts and our overall performance."

One bright note for the Lady Wreckers was Sanfilippo earning First Team All-FCIAC for the second straight year. She executed great jumps and stuck her back handsprings, layout and back tuck during the tumbling pass portion of her routine while flashing a wide smile on her face which emanated the word -- poise.

"It's definitely exciting to get it a second year in a row," Sanfilippo said. "The competition was harder this year and it was fun to showcase my skills. It's always an honor to represent Staples. I worked outside of practice to get ready for it. I used the same cheer I did last year but I added difficulty which allowed me to score higher."

Junior Jacquelyn Fritz competed individually and turned in a strong routine but was less than a point of earning All-FCIAC. Senior Caroline Hamm showed a lot of spirit while competing as well.

The Class LL competition starts tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. and Staples will go on at 10:08 a.m. Last year, the Lady Wreckers took 10th place at Class LL.

Competing in other competitions will help Staples as well. The Lady Wreckers saw the commentary on their performance from the Wolcott Invitational and they hope to learn from the critique.

"We're working on cleaning our transitions and having stronger motions for States," Giudice said. "Our goal is to place higher than we did at FCIACs. We added difficulty and learned from other competitions."

Nelson said, "We're making a lot of adjustments and hope it will better our score at States. We're preparing and working hard. Our team is performing a lot cleaner. Top five would be incredible but we're not worried about placement and want to perform the best we can do and to perform cleanly."

Sanfilippo said, "We're excited for states. We worked hard to perfect our routines and added a couple of things. Hopefully, we'll be more successful than we were last year at States."