Oceanside’s Matthew Guglielmo is aspiring to perfection | Herald Community Newspapers

Matthew Guglielmo made history when he became the first male cheerleader to compete at Oceanside High School, where he served as a senior cheerleading team captain and was called up to All County. Now a Class of 2022 graduate, he has expanded his accolades by becoming a national collegiate champion as a member of the University of Delaware cheerleading team in the Universal Cheerleaders Association National Competition.

Guglielmo, 18, a three-year varsity athlete at Oceanside, was named to the All-Long Island second cheerleading team and the All Division as a junior. He then sent out a highlight reel that led to him being recruited by the University of Delaware coaches.

However, his journey began with gymnastics in middle school, where a cheer coach convinced him to try cheerleading.

“I just fell in love with it and then stuck with it and tried it for high school,” he said. “Being applauded was kind of the perfect sport for me.”

When he heard the news that he was Oceanside’s first-ever male cheerleader, he found it fascinating — but he said that wasn’t why he tried it.

“For me, it was just doing what I wanted to do,” he said, “and I thought it was fun and I really enjoyed it. But then, in my freshman year of high school, it kind of clicked more because I was the first guy on Oceanside Cheer and I started participating in a competitive routine. That’s when I kind of realized I was making history for the district.”

If other young men want to try it, Guglielmo hopes “that they know that they can do it and that there is nothing wrong with it,” says Guglielmo.

During his junior year, Guglielmo began planning for college and realized two things: He wanted to keep Pursucheer, and he wanted to study landscape architecture. The University of Delaware, where he just finished his freshman year, has excellent programs for both. While architecture is his primary goal, he would like to cheer and possibly train on the side in the future.

His freshman semester ended on a high note, which was confirmed by his national competition win for him that all his practice hours have paid off and confirms that he is on the right track.

“You spend the whole year training for this competition,” he said, “and we have games to show our skills and to perform, but it’s not the same. While like UCA nationals you only compete, your graduation routine is like last time. So everything boils down to this moment. So there is a lot of pressure. And it’s easy to know that you and your team will do a good job when it counts.”

Being on a team with more experienced athletes was intimidating for him, he said, but he added, “You have to trust them and know they’re going to do their job and you’ll do yours. Cheering is very dangerous stuff, especially as the years go by and people try more and more things. So concussions are common, broken bones, broken fingers.”

The main goal is to make everything look as effortless as possible while putting in as much effort as possible. “You have to make the crowd believe that you can (cheer) 10 times out of 10, even if you can’t,” he said. “You have to do the hardest skills you have that are still clean and looking good.”

Guglielmo said he couldn’t do it without the Oceanside coaches who got him there – Kristen Pizzuto, assistant coach; Jillian Edelman junior varsity coach; and Samantha Chaback, varsity coach. Everyone continues to cheer him on from afar.

“I learned everything I knew from them. They gave me the foundation to get to where I am,” he said.

“Matty made history for Oceanside not only as our first male competitive cheerleader, but also as our first national collegiate champion,” said Chaback, “we are so proud of him.”

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