Sports Person of the Week
Orth Finishes Cheer Career with Honors
Senior Emily Orth capped off her career with the North Haven cheerleading team by earning All-SCC and All-State accolades this year. (Photo courtesy of Emily Orth)
While growing up watching her two brothers play football, Emily Orth was inspired by the talents that she saw from North Haven’s cheerleaders on the sidelines. Emily decided that she wanted to be like just them and started working hard to turn that goal into reality, ultimately becoming an All-SCC and All-State cheerleader at North Haven High School.
Emily, a senior, got started by joining the North Haven Youth Cheer program when she was in 4th grade. Emily felt that cheerleading came to naturally to her as soon as she stepped on the mat.
“It came easy to me. I always loved and had passion for it. Even when it wasn’t football season, I would always try to better myself,” Emily says. “I worked on my tumbling and tried to get my strength up. I would tumble in my front yard. I wanted to perfect my technique.”
Emily continued with youth cheerleading until she got to high school. During her 8th-grade season, she joined North Haven’s competition team in order to prepare for the next level. With every year that she cheered, Emily saw her skills improve as she came to love the sport more and more.
Emily joined the North Haven cheerleading team as a freshman and spent her first two years as a backspot before becoming a base in her junior season. At first, Emily found that cheering for the high school team was a big jump compared to middle school. However, with the support of her teammates, Emily was able to get the hang of high school cheerleading pretty quickly.
“It was a big difference from middle school to high school, but it was the best experience,” says Emily. “Our team had such a great bond. It wasn’t so scary to go on to the next level, because everyone was just so comforting. It was hard to learn all the new stunts, but the teammates and coaches pushed me. They were there for me.”
Emily felt much more comfortable about competing as a sophomore. She knew everyone on the team and what they are all capable of achieving. When all was said and done, Emily helped North Haven have a historic season that saw the team win an SCC title and a Class L state title, followed by a second-place finish at the New England Championship.
For Emily, there was no better feeling than taking first place at states.
“It was amazing. It was like no other feeling. If I could go back to that day, I would,” Emily says. “It was so surreal. I remember our name being called. Everyone was crying and hugging each other. I was so excited. It was such an amazing moment.”
As a junior last year, Emily secured a spot on the All-SCC Team and then helped North Haven claim second place at the Class L State Championship. This year, Emily earned All-SCC honors once again and also solidified her place on the Class L All-State Team. Emily made All-SCC alongside fellow senior Grace Peruso and made All-State in tandem with Peruso and sophomore Courtney Ciszewski.
“I was so honored to be named All-SCC and All-State. It felt amazing, and I congratulate everyone else that got All-SCC and All-State,” Emily says. “It was pretty crazy to get that. I’ve always worked so hard to get where I am. Winning that award just means a lot to me.”
North Haven cheerleading Head Coach Kathleen Crisafi describes Emily as a “coach’s dream.” Crisafi says that in the last four years, Emily progressed into one of North Haven’s most dependable cheerleaders and an athlete whose talent is only matched by her character.
“Emily is extremely talented and a very hard worker. She is very respectful to both her coaches and teammates. She has always given us 110 percent,” says Crisafi. “Emily was willing to do anything asked of her, looking for nothing in return. Her talent speaks for itself, but it’s her character that sets her apart from others. She is compassionate, selfless, and humble. We will miss her in all aspects.”
Emily was shy and mostly kept to herself when she first entered the North Haven cheer program, but started to come out of her shell during her tenure with the team. Emily credits her rise in confidence to her teammates and coaches at North Haven, saying that they made the cheerleading experience all the more special for her.
“From freshman year to senior year, I became more confident and comfortable with myself. Going through the years, I was able to come out of my shell,” says Emily, who also plays for the North Haven girls’ lacrosse squad. “My teammates really pushed me to be my best. My coaches were always there for me. They were always by our side. It was an amazing experience to be a part of.”
After high school, Emily will attend Quinnipiac University to pursue a degree in medical sciences with a focus in radiology. As she gets ready to graduate, Emily says that she’s gotten everything she ever could have wanted from cheering for North Haven and feels proud to have represented her hometown.
“I’m proud to have been a part of the North Haven program from youth to high school. It was such an honor to be a part of the team and a state champion,” Emily says. “It was an amazing experience. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”