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Aug 30, 2021

Mater Dei Prep’s Megan Mastro Full of Cheer, Always a Leader

By: Shanna O'Mara

Perhaps there is no better representation of school spirit than a cheerleader – no better embodiment of community pride, physical strength and unwavering enthusiasm – all wrapped up with a bow. Megan Mastro, a junior at Mater Dei Prep, is all of these things and more.

Mastro is a Middletown resident who joined the Mater Dei Prep cheer squad as a freshman. She grew up attending her brother’s football games and always admired the athletes on the field and in front of the crowd. The cheerleaders, especially, caught her eye as they chanted with fans, hyped up the players and defied gravity during halftime performances. When Mastro entered high school, she knew she wanted to don that uniform. Now an upperclassman, she is grateful for the path she chose and friends she met along the way.

“This cheer team is one of the greatest things because you get close to people you know and meet new people,” she said. “Throughout the season, we become a family, and it is such a nice thing to feel like a family and not just teammates.”

During the fall season, Mastro said she and her teammates practice most days after school. They also craft signs they can use during their routines and find time to hang out outside of school. Bonding with those on the squad is important, she said, as it builds trust. Cheerleaders are often thrown into the air, propped up on a teammate’s shoulders and flipping in sync – all in close proximity to one another. Without trust, routines can become frightening, if not dangerous. However, Mastro’s discipline and dedication to the sport alleviate her and others’ fears, her coach said.

“The whole fall football season [last year], Megan was one of my strongest athletes,” said second-year Head Coach Jake Valle. “She constantly improved athletically and mentally when thrown into other positions she wasn’t used to doing. Her commitment to practices, school events and games was everything every coach would admire. I’m excited to see what she can accomplish this season inside and outside of cheer!”

At Mater Dei Prep, Mastro said she helps during Mass and is a student ambassador, one of the first people new students meet during orientation. She is in the Italian Club and Booster Club, which encourages interest and attendance at athletic and scholastic activities. Additionally, she volunteers with the PTO at school.

As the 2021-22 school years gets underway, Mastro said she is most excited to spend time with her team.

“The thing I have been looking forward to was just getting back to cheering,” she said. “With everything that went on last year, it was very difficult. I believe that this year is going to be a great year as we can welcome transfer students and incoming freshmen.”

Three things to know about Megan Mastro:

1. During the winter and spring seasons, she competes on the track team.

2. She loves ping pong and plays for Mater Dei Prep’s club team. 

3. She said, “A misconception people often have is that cheerleading is easy and anyone could do it, but the truth is that it is a very difficult sport, whether it’s the training or how hard the sport is on our bodies. It takes a lot of practice throughout the year whether you’re in season or not.”