Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hometown Pasco

Pasco County YMCA cheerleading program filled with high spirits


It's a lot about progress.

The cheerleaders for the Wildcat Allstars — a team for the high-spirited children from the SunTrust Branch YMCA and the James P. Gills Family YMCA — not only cultivate their skills with the team but grow into better cheerleaders as the season progresses.

It's why coach Wendy Cassetta realizes her spirit squad has a wide variety.

"We have all kinds," Cassetta said. "I have cheerleaders who have started here and moved on to high school. I have cheerleaders who do both this and high school — which is a lot of work — and it just depends on what they want. They can come in at any level — they don't even need experience — and work their way up."

Cassetta and company held two tryouts to pick the 15 to 20 athletes who will make the squad. With practice starting in August, the team will compete in seven competitions starting in November. Cassetta will continue to tweak the team with another one-day tryout this month, and in July there will be a weeklong camp during which Cassetta will teach the routine they'll perform.

The team ranges from age 3 to 18 with four divisions — senior, youth, mini and tiny tot — based more on skill, in which their talent will be assessed along the way.

"We want them to be challenged," Cassetta said. "We're not going to put them with people who already know this and that. It's so they can progress and feel better about themselves and build some confidence. There are ones that come out and pick up things quick. Some just progress faster than others."

And cheering at this age — that is before they head to their local high school — isn't just for the girls. Cassetta notes that plenty of boys are interested too.

"Boys won't necessarily understand cheerleading, but they end up being the better tumblers," Cassetta said. "I can teach them back flips all day long because they naturally don't have that fear they're going to get hurt or they're tougher, as well. They'll amaze you sometimes."

For more on Wildcats cheerleading, call Cassetta at (727) 844-0332.

What's going on in your neighborhood?

Let us know and we may come document it. Tell us about an event, a game, a practice, an outing, a tournament — just about anything! There's a lot going on in the community and we want to know about it. Contact community sports editor Mike Camunas and tell him what's happening. Call (352) 544-1771 or e-mail him at We live in this community, so let's talk to each other.

Pasco County YMCA cheerleading program filled with high spirits 06/10/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Blue Jays

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  2. Baseball team's eclipse watch during game draws fans from far away


    KEIZER, Ore. — They came from Hawaii, Rhode Island and Alaska, and as far as the Dominican Republic and Australia.

    Players for the minor-league baseball Salem-Keizer Volcanoes wear special eclipse jerseys Monday.
  3. Florida State sees plenty of upside in Dade City native Jacob Pugh


    TALLAHASSEE — No, Florida State senior Jacob Pugh is not as versatile as teammate Derwin James.

     Florida State Seminoles linebacker Jacob Pugh (16) and Florida State Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker (44) celebrate after sacking the Miami quarterback Saturday October 8, 2016 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
  4. 247Sports: Berkeley Prep's Nicholas Petit-Frere top OT in nation


    Berkeley Prep offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere already is widely considered the best player in Tampa Bay.

    Berkeley Prep rising senior defensive end Nicholas Petit-Frere (78) performs a pad drill during spring football practice at Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, May 12, 2017.
  5. Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot


    Now that you've seen the preseason AP Top 25, here's what I submitted in my first year as a voter. The AP doesn't give us many guidelines in the preseason. I didn't try to predict how …