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Senior captain Sophie Kornacki helped the North Haven cheerleading team take second place at the Class L State Championship this season. Sophie was an All-SCC and All-State honoree for the Indians as a senior. (Photo courtesy of Sophie Kornacki )
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When Sophie Kornacki was in middle school, the coaches in the North Haven cheerleading program already knew that she had the potential to become a key member of their program. North Haven’s coaches were right as Sophie went on to have an excellent four-year career with the Indians in which she earned numerous accolades and also led the team as a captain.
Sophie earned All-SCC First Team honors and was named to the All-State Class L Team in her senior season this winter. This marked the second year in a row that Sophie made All-SCC on behalf of North Haven.
“Cheering for North Haven has taught me a lot of life lessons—leadership, how to grow independently, and not relying on other people to get my work done,” Sophie says. “I’ll always be a part of this team. They treat you like family. They’re always there for you. I’d do it every single day.”
Sophie stepped into a captain’s role and guided the Indians to a great showing at states as a senior. North Haven finished in second place with a score of 176.40 points at the Class L State Championship meet on March 7.
“I feel really honored that they chose me to lead this team. I know that whatever I do sets an example for everyone else on the team,” says Sophie. “This definitely helped me become a better version of myself, because everyone is watching me, following what I do, and listening to what I say. It’s a huge honor.”
Sophie started cheering in 6th grade by competing at the recreational level, where she met Kayla Crisafi. An alum of North Haven cheerleading, Kayla is now an assistant coach for the Indians, whose head coach is her mother Kathleen Crisafi.
Sophie says that Kayla is a big reason why she continued cheering through her senior year. On days where Sophie felt like she couldn’t compete, Kayla helped her push through and kept her motivated. With that support, Sophie grew into an integral member of the North Haven cheerleading family, and Coach Kathleen Crisafi feels that it’s been a privilege to work with her.
“Sophie has been a blessing to this program. She is an exceptional athlete, teammate, and person,” Crisafi says. “Sophie’s talents on the competitive mat speak for themselves. She has worked tirelessly on improving her personal skills. This has helped our program move to the high level everyone in the cheer world has come to expect from North Haven.”
Last year, Sophie helped the Indians put together a dream season. North Haven took first place at the SCC Championship, then claimed the Class L state title, followed by a second-place finish at the New England Championship. Sophie says that winning the state title was the most memorable moment of her cheerleading career.
“All of the hard work we go through—all of the blood, sweet, and tears literally paid off,” says Sophie. “We went out there, and we gave it our all. We performed to our best. The feeling of being called for first place, there’s nothing like it. Once we set our minds on our goals and then accomplished it, it was the best feeling.”
Sophie loves the excitement that comes with performing in front of a crowd. While she’s tried other sports, Sophie feels the most comfortable and connected when she’s cheering.
Before every competition, North Haven’s athletes form a circle and hype each other up, telling themselves to believe in another. Even with all the accolades and championships, the Indians’ pre-meet routine is one of Sophie’s favorite parts of the cheerleading experience.
“I have a certain mindset right before I go on. Everything out of the competition just blurs, and it’s just me on the mat with my team,” Sophie says. “All I’m thinking about is knowing that I have to do this and I have to get it done. By the time we get to the performance, we know this is what we have been waiting for. This is our time.”
Sophie feels honored to have competed for a program as prestigious as North Haven. Sophie has been cheering with the same people for several years since she started in middle school. In that time, she’s created many long-lasting memories and friendships, while growing both on and off the mat.
“Being a cheerleader at North Haven has taught me to be the best person I can be. My coaches have taught me how to be the best person I can, even outside of cheerleading,” says Sophie. “The friendships, I will never lose. I’ve created bonds with my teammates that I know I’ll have for a lifetime. If I wasn’t in cheerleading, I don’t know what I’d be doing or who I would be. I’m grateful I was able to go into this program and where it has taken me today.”
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