GHS cheerleading seniors (l-r) Holly Barbieri, Taylor Cronin, Lauren Gallagher, and Lucy Talbot were known as 'The Final Four'
March Madness has begun. Both the men’s and women’s NCAA college basketball tournament brackets will soon be whittled down to a Final Four.
This year, Glastonbury High School cheerleading has their own Final Four in senior captains Holly Barbieri, Taylor Cronin, Lauren Gallagher, and Lucy Talbot.
Cheerleading, which performs in both the fall and winter with tournament competitions taking place at the end of the winter season, was greatly impacted by the pandemic over the last 24-months.
Both sessions during the 2020-2021 school-year were reduced to individual work and competition in the winter of 2021 was completely nixed.
Covid-restrictions not only halted competition but the GHS program suffered as well as some cheerleaders quit the sport, leaving the Guardians with the only four remaining cheerleaders from the class of 2022.
The four embraced the challenge and had made the most of the situation, creating a group chat between them entitled, “The Final Four”.
The team finished 2nd overall in the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC)-West and 4th overall in the entire CCC.
Together they formed a collective unit and individually they each brought something unique to the team.
Barbieri has been cheering for the past five years, performing a year at the youth level before joining the team at GHS.
She said that the friendship between the four made it easier to bring the stunt groups together, connecting the team on a deeper level.
“We definitely tried to make the team more positive and upbeat because of the way Covid affected us,” said Barbieri. “We tried to do team bonding as much as we could and we tried to make the season more fun.”
Barbieri, who was also part of the Interact Club at GHS, enjoys horseback riding and said she can be found “mainly at the barn” when she is not performing cheer.
She is undecided on her next venture but said she may head to West Virginia for college to study Agricultural Business.
Cronin has been cheering for a decade, dating back to the second grade, but said she struggled with last year’s restrictions and ended up not participating.
She added that it took a little bit to get back into a groove this season, noting that most of the new girls had little to no experience in competitions.
“We came back strong. It was a special year. We had to come together and work really hard, which made it so much more special because where we started,” said Cronin, who has also coached youth cheerleading in Glastonbury. “We depended on each other a lot and all the struggles we would communicate with each other. Having each other was a really important part of the season.”
Cronin is an outdoor enthusiast that is looking into colleges out of state, leaning towards a major in psychology or social work.
Gallagher, who started cheering as a freshman, agreed that it took time for the team’s chemistry to come back this winter.
“We started off very distant from each other. We depended on the seniors a lot last year, so we were trying to fill that void and trying to figure out where we fit into it. Once that happened we started getting along really well,” said Gallagher. “We had a good team this year. We had to work really hard but we had so much fun together.”
She added that the seniors had a big responsibility to mentor the younger girls, adding that it made the season even more rewarding.
Gallagher, an avid reader who also participated in Big Siblings at GHS, is undecided on which college but wants to pursue nursing.
Talbot has been cheering since middle school and joined the GHS cheer after moving from Texas prior to her freshman year.
She said that each year at GHS has been different, adding, “Every year you get to know the girls so well and you remember those years by the people you are with and the friends you make.”
Talbot, who described herself as a leader who likes to have fun and get into a little bit of trouble, said this year’s squad was unforgettable.
“Every girl has something unique about them. They are all unique and special to me,” said Talbot. “I feel like I will miss each and every bond. I had a lot of fun with the freshmen coming in this year. They are silly and I am silly.”
Talbot, who has a passion for singing and is part of the Choir and Art Club at GHS, is looking at colleges all over the country and is leaning towards heading south for school.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin