By JOHN ANDERSON
For fans of the Wellsville-Hornell rivalry, no matter the sport, the game is circled in Sharpie on the calendar each season.
For athletic directors and support staff, it’s a good time to schedule vacation! With full gyms and rowdy student sections, school employees spend a lot of time making sure the cheering stays at the perfect level.
Add in rules like having to wear masks, and the task becomes more difficult.
For Wellsville Athletic Director Erica Aftuck, the student section seems to listen. And for good reason. She’s not afraid to get the crowd pumped up and perform stunts most of us would not want to attempt.
On Friday night, Aftuck, who was a three-sport star in high school and admits she never cheered, joined the Wellsville Varsity Cheerleaders between the first and second period of the Hornell-Wellsville basketball game.
She was the flyer. The Cheerleaders lifted her in the air in front of the student section and when she reached the top and raised her fist in the air, the crowd went wild. She then threw Wellsville t-shirts into the crowd before coming down.
There was a blue tumbling mat on the ground to break her fall, but the award-winning cheerleaders kept her safe. The cheerleading team recently took first place in their division at the Eye of the Tiger competition in Avoca.
There were no incidents with fans and Hornell won an exciting game, 68-64.
The two teams are at it again in Wellsville at 6 p.m. as the girls’ teams play.