Cheerleading now a sport in New York

By Kelly McCarthy

May 1, 2014 Updated May 1, 2014 at 7:15 PM EDT

Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A new sport is coming to New York state and it's already popular in most high schools. The New York State Board of Regents approved cheerleading to become a competitive sport.

After years of consideration, cheerleading is officially moving up in the ranks.

It's now recognized as a sport in New York state.

The State Board of Regents voted unanimously this week to approve the decision.

"I think it's great. I think it should have been recognized as a sport a long time ago." said Maine-Endwell cheerleader Ashly Williams.

New York State joins 34 other states and the District of Columbia to include cheerleading as a competitive sport.

"We really haven't had the opportunity to showcase our talent," said Maine-Endwell Athletic Director David Cook. "We have a little bit more than other areas because of our STAC competition, where we have already recognized the girls as being part of a sport and athletic."

Sideline cheer teams for basketball and football won't be affected, but teams that compete in championships will see some changes.

Starting for the 2014-2015 winter season, cheer teams will have to follow a set of coaching and safety standards for the first time.

"Big concern obviously is the safety issues and that all those safety rules are followed," Cook said, "That's my biggest concern."

As of now, there is no limit to practice times or length of seasons, but that would change under the new regulations.

There will also be a state cheerleading championship organized within the next two years.

"We don't get to compete as much, we only have like one competition, maybe two if we get to go to them," Williams said. "It'd be a more interesting to see a lot more competitions happening."

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