Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sports

June 26, 2013

Leaps & Bounds

Lockport woman turns bitter disappointment into universal success

LOCKPORT —

Whether she’s helping the Louisville Cardinals earn a national cheerleading championship, or her Team USA teammates win a world title, or better yet, lending a helping hand to those less fortunate living in Central America, jumping around comes naturally to Lockport native Maria D’Addeo.
Maria, 20, the daughter of Michael D’Addeo of Lockport and Vanette Bennett of Tennessee, recently returned from a special missionary trip to Belize in Central America where she joined fellow Cardinals students to try and better the lives of those less fortunate.
D’Addeo, a world class student-athlete at Louisville, spent a week in Belize helping to construct a new house for an impoverished family.
“It was a great, unbelievable experience,” said Maria, a 2010 graduate of Lockport High School and a senior marketing and finance major at Louisville.
Maria’s good nature and positive approach towards school, life and a future career in marketing didn’t develop overnight. Bitter disappointment also played a role in the growth and maturity of the comely, driven young lady.
It began as a gymnast in the award-winning Lockport Flips gymnastics program, under the direction of Don and Shirley Beecher.
“A lot of my friends from Flips went on to diving careers. I think if you have a gymnastics background, it’s definitely a lot easier for you to get started in diving and cheerleading because you have a better understanding of the tumbling techniques needed in both. Gymnastics was a good preparation for me,” she said.
Competitive cheerleading soon caught Maria’s eye and in fifth grade, she joined the Outlaws all-star cheerleading squad, based out of Flips. A year later and Maria was looking for a bigger program to compete in and joined the Sub Zero All-Stars out of West Seneca.
“The Outlaws was just one team and Sub Zero had five teams, so it was a much bigger program overall and had won more titles, so I joined them,” Maria said.

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