While their community back home struggled through the freezing cold blizzard, the Ward Melville varsity cheerleaders were busy heating up the Universal Cheerleaders Association national competition that same weekend in Florida.
End result: The girls not only made the finals round, but they placed 11th among the 25 teams that competed in that round.
Head coach Loren Quitoni called the 2012-13 squad "the dream team."
"The girls deserved it and worked extremely hard all year long to get there. I couldn't have been prouder," she said. "The girls learned what I like to call the three D's: Dedication, drive and determination! These girls have not only become a family but have gained life-long lessons that they can carry with them for a lifetime."
Their 2013 appearance at nationals was only their second nationals experience in Ward Melville cheerleading history – last year they qualified for nationals and traveled to Florida for the competition but fell short of making the final round.
The team had a number of difficult elements in their routine, including one and a half full ups, switch leg heel stretches, standing tucks, layout fulls, a crowd-pleasing cheer and a final pyramid that Quitoni called "extremely difficult, very visual."
Other cheer teams from Long Island got stuck when trying to travel home from the competition. However, the Ward Melville cheerleaders lucked out with no problems with their flight home on Feb. 10, though Quitoni said that getting back to Three Village after their flight wasn't easy.