Port Charlotte Bandits send multiple teams to nationals

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Credit: Port Charlotte Bandits

For many athletes, going to nationals is the goal. The Port Charlotte Bandits are sending multiple teams to nationals.

The Bandits’ 12U football team will play their big game this weekend, but they aren’t the only team that’s making history.

The Port Charlotte Bandit Cheer program is sending three teams to nationals in Orlando. This is a chance for them to prove themselves.

Brielle Salatino is a flyer for the varsity squad. “If you hit your routine on a nationals mat, it’s the most amazing feeling,” Salatino said.

Erica Mamalis is the head coach for the pee wee squad. “It’s every coach’s dream,” Mamalis.

Cyrena Deluglass is a flyer on the pee wee squad. “Everybody always has each other’s back,” said Deluglass.

Erika Cornwell is the varsity squad’s head coach. “To watch them grow as individuals as cheerleaders, and it’s probably been one of the best experiences of my coaching career,” Cornwell said.

Mitey Mite cheer found out that they will be joining the other Port Charlotte Bandit squads at nationals on Tuesday evening. Brittany Lorino is the Mitey Mite squad’s head coach. “I cried,” Lorino said. “I just told them how awesome they were and how deserving they were.”

Skyler Paulson is a base for the Mitey Mite squad. “I smiled really big,” Paulson said.

The Port Charlotte Bandit 12U football team is making its trip to Orlando over the weekend. The team is undefeated. They’re southeast region champions, and, just like the cheer squads, they’re competing for a national championship.

Less Hansen is the 12U head coach. “This team plays with a lot of heart. We’re a small team. When we go to other places to play, teams kind of look at us and laugh at us and go okay. But we prove it a little different when we walk out on the field,” said Hansen.

Bruce Blanden is a running back and linebacker for the team. “We don’t go all the way all the way up there to lose,” said Blanden.

Representing their town in front of the entire country brings these players, coaches, and cheerleaders pride.

Ayana Carion is the pee wee squad’s backspot. “It feels like we’re making Port Charlotte proud,” said Carion.

“Although we are a small county that we can still do great things on the national level,” Cornwell said.

“It feels like we’re putting our little town on the map,” said Salatino.

The football team finds out who they’ll be playing on Wednesday when the bracket is released. The Mitey Mite cheer squad this the mat in Orlando on Monday. THen, the varsity and pee wee squads will follow next Wednesday.

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