2..4..6..8.. BG cheerleaders are headed to state PDF Print E-mail
Written by DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 22 February 2014 09:32
Alyssa Karaffa (right) working with cheerleaders. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Give me an S! Give me a T!
Now an A-T-E!
What does it spell? State!
The Bowling Green High School cheerleaders are headed to state competition next week, a rarity in the school's history, according to head coach Alyssa Karaffa.
"This is a huge thing for our school and our community," said Karaffa, who's been the coach for two years and is also a fourth-grade teacher at Conneaut Elementary.
BGHS will compete on March 2 at the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators event at St. John Arena on the Ohio State University campus. The regional competition was held Feb. 2 in the Anthony Wayne School District.
The 22 girls on the squad, which includes freshmen through seniors, will perform a two-minute and 30-second routine with cheers, dance, tumbling and stunting. The latter is a little unusual, as this is one of the few areas in Ohio that allows stunting, said Karaffa, who is a former instructor at Pure Energy Athletics, a competitive cheer and hip hop gym in Bowling Green.
For example, the cheerleaders in the southern part of the state, where Karaffa was raised, only tumble, she said.
Karaffa is competitive and would love to see her squad do well at state. If they do place high, she can't wait to see the reaction.
"I want it for the girls. I've never seen girls work this hard, and I've been around a lot of girls. They're hungry for it," she said. "They're constantly asking me if it's good enough."

Karaffa coached the Flyers for two years before coming to Bowling Green two years ago. She has her bachelor's degree in education from Bowling Green State University, and is working on a master's degree in administration.
Karaffa's goal is for people to view cheerleading as more of a sport than a club. The practices and schedule are intense, with the girls meeting everyday in season, except for Sundays.
"We cheer for the other sports and we're there to get crowd morale (up) and spirit stuff," she said. "When we're not doing that - which is a lot of the time - we're practicing for a huge routine."
Karaffa said cheerleading is a year-long extracurricular and the girls have been practicing together since July, although the routine has been changed five times.
"We've overcome injuries, ineligibility and quitting because it's so much work."
Laural Kirchner said the program has been a great experience for her daughter, Haily, a freshman.
"Alyssa has brought so many positive elements to the BGHS cheer team. She gives and expects 110 percent, and welcomes the girls' input. The attitude is always positive," Kirchner said.
Coaching runs in Karaffa's family. Her father coached football for 28 years at Troy High School and continually talked about building a program, something Karaffa preaches to her girls. She was also a leader in getting a middle school cheer program established in Bowling Green this year.
Her husband, Matt, is the BGHS junior varsity basketball coach.
"That's kind of nice, we're both at games," Karaffa said.
The two have no children.
"That would be my fourth-graders and my cheerleaders," she said, with a chuckle.
Last Updated on Saturday, 22 February 2014 09:43

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