JV cheer coach takes over varsity squad


Gabby Velotta

The varsity cheerleaders celebrate their cheer camp trophy with head coach Gabby Velotta.

Hannah Birnbaum, Staff Writer

After coaching JV cheerleading for five years, Mayfield alumna Gabby Velotta was promoted to coaching varsity this year.

Going into it, Velotta already knew that coaching varsity would involve a larger time commitment and more responsibilities. She said, “It’s not just cheerleading that you’re coaching anymore. It’s doing a million other things like helping organize a fundraiser, finding more fundraisers, everything for camp, and [youth cheer] WYFC.”

Velotta also knew there would be challenges when she first accepted the position. “I think scheduling everything for cheerleading camp was probably the first and most difficult thing because I had never done that before. Also, trying to organize things for varsity like the pasta dinner. I didn’t know anything about the pasta dinner with the varsity [team],” she said.

Lindsey Urban, a senior on varsity this year, compliments Velotta on her transition to varsity. Urban said, “I feel like our squad is adjusting very well. Velotta is amazing, and we all had her for JV, so prior to the season starting, we all kind of had a bond with her since we had her for JV.”

Junior Grace Lanzara, who also had Velotta as a coach for JV, is cheering on varsity this year for the first time and realizes how different the squads are. “JV cheer is definitely a lot less of a responsibility. Varsity is in charge of planning everything.

“In JV practice, there’s a lot more to go over because a lot of the cheers are brand new and a lot of them we changed to match varsity’s. Varsity already knows all the cheers, and it’s just a review,” Lanzara said.

Velotta is grateful that she is able to manage both her home and cheer life effectively. She said, “I don’t work a full time job, so I really put all of my spare time into coaching and to making sure the squad as a whole has everything it needs. My husband is super helpful, and I have people to babysit my kids. I make it work no matter what.”

Urban appreciates the positive changes that Velotta is implementing this year, including being able to dress up with the student section. “I love that Velotta is letting us do that. That way we can show our school spirit and feel like a part of the student section community,” she said.

Velotta believes that if she ever needs help, she has plenty of people to support her, including former head coach Kristy Palmeri-Elias. Velotta said, “Any question I have, I always ask her and she’s able to give me an answer right away.”

Lanzara is thankful that she has already had Velotta as a coach previously, since there is already chemistry between Velotta and the squad. Lanzara said, “She already knows how we work, and it’s like one big team. We’re all family.”

Velotta explains how she treats her varsity girls differently than she treated her JV girls and holds them to a higher expectation. “You guys [varsity] are the games that everybody goes to, so I think that it’s the most important that you guys always put your best foot forward and show Mayfield in a positive way, and you guys are setting the example,” she said.

Velotta is thankful for her new position and eager for the season, especially the annual St Jude fundraiser. She said, “It’s such a big event for us, so I’m super excited about that. I think every Friday night is exciting.”