ARKPORT — The heartbeat of sports is born when the underdog reaches up and grabs glory.
NY Icons South was born in the barn of Bethany Adams’ homestead, and brought to life by the dreams of a community looking to inspire young girls and boys.
The gym opened in the summer of 2015 in Wayland, and has since moved to the old Arkport Cycles building.
In the two-year history of a dream come true, this Junior Level All Star Cheerleading team has moved leaps and bounds to become the very definition of success. There are 15 girls in the team made up of seven to 15-year-olds.
In the first year the team went to U.S. Finals in Providence, RI. and won second place. In the first event of the season at Cheersport in Buffalo, NY with a brand new replacement athlete they earned first place, Grand Champion and a Paid Gold Bid to the U.S. Finals. They also earned the Wild Card Bid to The Summit in Orlando, FL. The Summit is a Worlds Event held at the Walt Disney World Resort, and only 1,800 teams out of approximately 12,000 are invited to compete in this prestigious event. The estimated cost of the team attending will be near $10,000 and needs to be raised as soon as possible.
Ny Icons South is having various fundraisers. Any bottles and cans can be donated to them at the Tell Them Where You Got It shop located on Route 21 heading towards North Cohocton. Dansville Moose Lodge is holding a spaghetti dinner March 12 from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets will be $8 for adults $4 kids five to 12, four and under are free. There will be doing 50/50 and basket raffles. Tickets will be available from any of the girls or at the gym. Wayland Village Hall at 15 North Main will have them too. T-shirts are being made and sent out to people who are interested. If you want to order a T-Shirt you can contact the gym. A letter has been sent to local businesses letting them now about the accomplishments of the team, and the plan of fulfilling a dream at The Summit.
Adams said it has always been her dream to form a cheerleading team of her own.
“I was coaching youth cheerleading in the area, but they only did it once a week,” she said. “My own daughter was doing it four times a week in Greece, but that was too far to go. I wanted to have something in the area for the kids. We started our first year in my husband’s barn, and he is glad to have it back.”
The tumbling classes have tripled since moving to the other building. There are five schools involved in the teams; Wayland-Cohocton Central, Dansville Central, Keshequa Central, Hornell Central, and Canaseraga Central.
“The kids wanted to see what it would be like, so we went to the U.S. Finals in Rhode Island and won second place,” Adams said. “We couldn’t believe it when we got the Silver Medal.”
Kaitlynn Adams, 11, was the very first one on the team, and she was delighted to be in it wiht her best friends.
“It is amazing to watch them do it,” Adams said. “When we went to Buffalo for one of the hardest competitions we had suffered a lot with the team. One girl broke her back a week before and we were devastated. We had to train a girl to take her place. We ended up taking home first place and got our name on the list for The Summit.”
After everything the team has accomplished over the past two years, Adams said they deserve to go down to the big competition in Florida.
Amanda Azzi is co-owner of NY Icons South and she has been a big help to Adams.
“We met five years ago, and we both had the same passion to create this team,” Adams said.
Rachel O’Connor and Tammy Schubmehl both have daughters that are some of the original members of the team.
Madison Spencer, 11, is O’Connor’s daughter and has an older sister, Marissa O’Connor, who helps mentor the cheerleaders in the group.
“They have turned this into something amazing,” Rachel O’Connor said. “The program teaches discipline and structure. This team is like a second family.”
O’Connor said Madison’s self confidence since joining the team has been amazing to watch.
“I am really proud of her, her coaches, and her team,” she said. “It has been a family effort for all of us to put this together.”
The Summit takes place May 3 to 8 in Disney World. This is like the Superbowl for Cheerleading. It is the ultimate goal for every cheerleading team. Teams compete from all over the country.
“We are fundraising our hearts out to make sure these girls get there,” O’Connor said. “The help from the community is huge. We are all proud parents.”
Nora Schubmehl, 12, Tammy's daughter has always loved cheerleading and this has been a dream come true.
“They have become a family,” Tammy Schubmehl said. “They help the girls focus. Nora has learned to be part of a team. She can’t do this without the others in her team.”
“They have had obstacles thrown in their way,” Schubmehl continued. “Some of the teammates left, and there have been new ones coming in. They are performing their little hearts out, and had a huge success a couple weeks ago. I am glad the kids have found something to put their hearts and souls into.”
The message of NY Icons South is to never give up and work really hard.
“I know how much Bethany loves these kids, and they give their all,” Schubmehl said. “I think it is a gift these kids have. I am super proud of this program.”
This team teaches life lessons that these girls and boys ages four to 18-years-old will take with them for the rest of their lives.
To find out more about the program and how to donate you can visit http://iconscheer.com/ They are located at 1 Main Street in Arkport and can be reached at 607-661-2360.