Cheer Team Takes on New Challenges

The cheer team stunts at the Sept. 22 Brooklyn game with special guests from Bryden elementary.
The cheer team stunts at the Sept. 22 Brooklyn game with special guests from Bryden elementary.
Alissa Monahan

The BHS cheerleading team has made multiple advancements this season in preparing stunts and choreographing their own dances. 

“I feel like stunts have brought our team closer together as we have to learn to trust one another for the stunts to be successful,” senior Captain Allie Berns said. 

Senior Camile Gills agrees. 

“I feel good that we are now able to stunt this season,” she said.

The team just began to stunt this year after many years of not doing so.

“Since the cheer team has not stunted since 2015, incorporating stunting this season has challenged the team to learn something new,” Head Coaches Jasmine Stevens and Jocelyn Noel wrote in a joint statement.   

At multiple games this season, the cheerleaders brought energy and spirit to the crowd as the girls performed their stunts. 

“Fans have been very complimentary of the team this season,” the coaches wrote. 

Cheerleaders explained the rules concerning stunts. They can only be performed during timeouts and in between quarters, but they are prohibited during plays to minimize risk of injury. 

The cheerleaders that aren’t in the stunt group crowd around with their arms up in case the flyer comes down for any reason. The bases (cheerleaders who lift) of the stunt group also keep their eyes on the flyer (cheerleaders who leap) while they are in the air.

The bases have to be strong and the flyer has to be comfortable being thrown into the air.  

The cheerleaders are currently working on basic skills including full extension and cradling. The full extension is where the bases hold the flyers’ feet at their chest but extend their arms to become straight so that their hands are above their heads. 

Cradling is the move when a flyer is up in the air and extends her body to lay in a sleeping position so the bases can catch her and cradle her to safety.  

“We only know basic skills right now, but we are advancing every day we stunt,” first officer Madeleine Mehler said. 

The team is focused on having a good time, but they also take safety seriously.

“We take all the precautions necessary; we don’t try to do any stunts that we are not comfortable with,” Mehler said. “We practice new skills over and over again.” 

The coaches had to complete safety training courses outlined by the National Federation of State High School Associations. At the start of the season, cheerleaders and their parents signed waivers. The team practices stunts in the wrestling room, where it is completely padded. 

I feel like stunts have brought our team closer together as we have to learn to trust one another for the stunts to be successful.

— Cheer Captain Allie Berns

“As with any sport there are inherent risks and safety concerns,” the coaches wrote. “There are no major safety concerns we as coaches have for the team or ourselves while stunting.” 

Stunts have presented a whole new level of challenges for the cheerleaders.

“It has definitely been an experience for me as I have taken a few tumbles, and it has taken the team a while to adjust to the new skills we do,” Berns said.

The cheer squad has also taken on more competitive dance routines.

“When it comes to sideline and dance formations, the competition is very intense,” Berns said.

“Introducing stunting has elevated our program to a new level,” the coaches wrote. “Our choreography for the dances is creative and innovative.”

The making of the dances is very collaborative between the team and coaches. Usually, the team picks out music and the coaches mix the music.

The cheerleaders themselves choreograph the dances. 

The team brings several eight-count dance rhythms to practice and piece together using everyones’ contributions for the halftime performance. 

The team continues to work on new material as they perform new dances at each halftime show. 

The dance captains are seniors Allie Berns and Sloane Harris, junior Madeleine Mehler and sophomore Ilu Thal.   

The Captains begin their creative process by listening to the music that inspires them. 

The team finds mixes on Youtube and Tik Tok that they like and the coaches mix the music.  

“The captains and first officers get together during the weekends to create the dance for the whole team,” Mehler said. 

“People often get angry if they spend time making the dance but the coaches change the dance we make up,” Mehler said. “[However], Even though there are disagreements, everything works out in the end.”

The team works through the hardships and keeps working hard to learn new skills.  

“This is [our] second year as head coaches, and we have worked to create an open environment where teammates can approach us with suggestions and concerns,” Coach Stevens said. “Any issues that we’ve had have been resolved by a conversation.” 

“We are very proud of the High School cheer team and the progress they have made,” she added. “We are extremely delighted with the cheerleading program, and we are hoping that Beachwood Cheerleading will continue to reach new heights moving forward.” 

The cheer team will continue to show off their stunting and dance routines at football games this season, including this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Cuyahoga Heights High School, where the Bison will face Trinity.

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