Rallying for Seniors

Recognition for all the seasons our cheer and dance teams have dedicated to PMHS


Photo by Sophia Schaeffer

PMHS seniors Ashley Elsasser (left) and Madison Arnold (middle) execute a lift as they celebrate their final season of cheerleading.

The night that all Pat-Med athletes look forward to… Senior Night!

September 23, 2022, the Patchogue Medford Cheer team and the Raiderettes, celebrated their seniors with a series of exciting traditions and rituals spanning from locker room decorating, custom posters and banners, and surprise gift baskets all made and coordinated by the team’s “littles” or under-classmen.

How it works is each under-classman is secretly assigned a senior, and they work together to create lots of fun surprises for that senior.

Along with this celebration, both teams put on show-stopping halftime routines to highlight their skills and talents. Despite overcoming the obstacles regarding finding practice spaces, both teams have remained major symbols of school spirit.

This year, Raiders’ Cheer celebrated seniors Madison Arnold, Ashley Elsasser, Avianna Merkel, Daisy Pereira, and Mackenzie Tripicovsky. Coached by Tina Trimis, or “Bracchi” as referred to by most, this team of varsity level athletes showed off their exciting sideline stunts, tumbling skills, and cheers, along with an outstanding new routine which included new choreography taught by assistant coach Brooke Yander.

While these girls give it their all at football games, what many don’t realize is that the real heart of their season does not start until around November.

“Football season is like our warmup; the real work starts during our competition season,” says Kasey Elorriaga, a Junior who has been cheering with Patchogue-Medford since middle school.

Every year this team competes in a series of different Section 11 competitions against high schools across Suffolk County.

The team has had to learn to be flexible as their practice space was turned into a spin room in recent year. Their practice has been relocated to Barton Elementary School.  This can present some challenges as there is no provided transportation, the equipment we use does not travel with us, and there is no access to an athletic trainer.

Despite the hurdles they have learned to overcome, the team will be attending the United Cheer Association’s regional competition where they hope to earn a bid to go to the UCA nationals in Walt Disney World, Florida. Without the persistence of the team’s seniors, none of this would be possible.

Patchogue Medford’s Dance Team, the legendary Raiderettes, coached by Christina Stiriz, honored their seniors this night, as well.

This crew includes seniors Erin Buccinna, Sophia Fiumano, Malina Stylianos, and Jenna White.

Our star dance team brought the house down with a Nicki Minaj inspired routine choreographed by the teams’ captains; however, due to technical reasons, there was an interruption as their music cut out.

Nevertheless, they kept going with the amazing crowd cheering them on. They then went out again shortly after, for an encore where they went through their routine for a second time without any interruption.

While this team is clearly adored by the student section at every game they attend, they also have had to navigate space for practice. The team had been practicing in a section of the hallway outside of the school’s auditorium.

Luckily, they have recently been permitted to rehearse in a small practice room in the back of the music department. While the team feels this is a step in the right direction, they are still fighting for respect. “We just want to be treated like any other sports team” says Hannah Schlanger, a junior on the team who hopes that as her senior year approaches, they will soon get the same experience that all student athletes get.

While both teams have endured many challenges, they would not be where they are today if it were not for their seniors and all the arduous work, they put in. This is why it is so important that we honor them and support them as they move on from Patchogue Medford and onto bigger things in life. This is why our senior nights are so important both to our seniors and our sports programs.