STAMFORD, Conn. – Nicole Cuscuna had a profound impact on a lot of girls as a cheerleading coach in the Stamford Youth Foundation. Cuscuna, who died of a heart attack on Oct. 26 at age 44, will be on the minds of many during Saturday’s cheerleading exhibition at Stamford High School.
“It will be a heartfelt performance,’’ said Krissy Carboni, the SYF cheeleading president. “She was a loving mom, wonderful coach and everyone’s biggest cheerleader. She volunteered for everything. She touched a lot of lives.”
The organization will honor Cuscuna in several ways during Saturday’s shows. The organization will present a coaching award in Cuscuna’s name to one of the coaches in the organization. In addition, SYF and Gold Coast All-Star cheerleading will be awarding a scholarship in her name.
The foundation was rocked by the death of Cuscuna and of two former players in the league, Peter Cenansky and Marcus Dixon McInerney, who died earlier this year. The organization also created awards in their memory: the Peter Cernansky Sportsmanship Award and the Marcus Dixon McInerney Athletic Achievement Award.
“It has been a heartbreaking season,’’ Carboni said. “When you’re in the Stamford Youth Foundation, it’s like being in a family.”
The cheerleading exhibition is the final event for the football and cheerleading season for the foundation. Elementary and Mite cheerleaders begin at 3:30 p.m., and the Middle School cheerleaders begin at 7. The event was postponed for one week due to Hurricane Sandy.
“It’s the Super Bowl of cheerleading,’’ Carboni said. “There are about 600 performers, 24 Stamford Youth Foundation squads and three high school squads. It’s a fantastic show.”
The exhibition will take on added emotion this year with the tributes to Cuscuna, Cernansky and McInerney. “It’s sad, but it’s also touching,’’ Carboni said. “Everyone in the program is part of the family.”
For more information about Saturday’s exhibition, visit the Stamford Youth Foundation website.