Baldwin spirit team pleased with WPIAL performance, looks …


Sunday, January 22, 2023 | 11:01 AM

The Baldwin spirit team will compete at the WPIAL championships on January 7, 2022, in Hempfield.

The Baldwin spirit team will compete at the WPIAL championships on January 7, 2022, in Hempfield.

The Baldwin spirit team will compete at the WPIAL championships on January 7, 2022, in Hempfield.

The 2022-23 season has been a learning experience for many of the girls on Baldwin’s competitive spirit cheerleading squad.

And they were taught well. The Highlanders placed third in the large team division at the WPIAL championships on Jan. 7 in Hempfield.

“We have 21 total cheerleaders this season and 12 of them are either new to our program, new to their stunting position, or both,” said Taryn Madden, who shares coaching duties with Dena Mihalsky. “So, we had half our team competing at such a high level that day and I think they all did really well.

“The team has come together and fought hard to perform the elite level skills that they do.”

Hempfield took first place among large teams with 88.8 points, followed by Penn-Trafford (85.7), Baldwin (85.5) and North Allegheny (85.1). All four teams qualified for the PIAA finals set for Jan. 27-28, in Hershey.

“We are incredibly proud of the routine our team performed at the WPIAL competition,” Mihalsky said. “It was the most difficult routine we’ve ever been able to land in all aspects of the scoresheet, and the girls worked so hard to be able to compete in the skills included in our routine.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to compete in the PIAA competitive spirit championship this year with this group of girls.”

Baldwin’s competitive cheerleading team consists of seven seniors, three juniors, five sophomores and six freshmen.

The senior class is represented by Alana Beerman, Paige Brain, Samantha Davis, Skylar Kelly, Michaela Rohe, Ava Vavro and Ava Wodarek.

Rohe, Davis and Beermann serve as co-captains.

“We did as much as we could at the WPIAL finals, and I’m so proud of everyone for being so versatile and hardworking,” Rohe said.

The 18-year-old Rohe has been cheering for 13 years. Rohe has a 4.1 GPA and participates in the National Honor Society and Service Club. He also served as a junior and senior class officer on the executive board.

Rohe has been a competitive cheerleader for eight years.

“I think our main goal for the PIAA finals is to hit our routine and be satisfied with ourselves and how our performance is going,” he said. “We really want to do it for our coaches, for ourselves and for all our supporters like our family, friends and alumni. We want to make them proud.”

Similar to Rohe, Davis and Beermann were extremely proud of their team’s performance at the WPIAL event.

“All of our hard work and dedication to this routine showed through our performance at WPIALs,” Davis said. “Our goals (now) are to hit our routine at the PIAA finals and feel proud and confident in our performance. We all have our reasons why we’re pushing ourselves to our limits and we’re all going to fight and do for these reasons.”

Davis is 17 years old, has been a cheerleader for five years and a competitive cheerleader for four years. She has a 3.7 GPA and is part of the NHS, Best Buddies and Special Olympics.

Beermann said it wasn’t a perfect performance at Hempfield, but it was one of the best of the season.

“I’m proud of our team and how far we’ve come this season,” he said. “We had a drop but overall it was one of the best performances we’ve had and we all really worked together to make it happen.

“We’ve been working a lot on consistency in hopes of nailing our routine at the state competition. We’re also bringing the routine.”

Beermann, 17, has been a cheerleader since she was 6 and has competed for Baldwin since her freshman year. He is a member of the Spanish Club and Chill Club.

All three of Baldwin’s captains appreciate their role as team leaders and positive role models.

Rohe believes she, Davis and Beermann act as captains almost every day.

“I try as much as possible to remind everyone why we want to do good and what our goals are for being here in every practice and every contest,” Rohe said.

Davis said: “Some of my duties are to keep everyone’s spirits up and to be as positive as possible in difficult times. Also, to make sure the team remembers the reason they are doing it.”

And Beermann added: “My main job is to encourage the girls and keep everyone working hard and working together. I try to make sure that we are all fighting for the same goals, and to be a positive role model for more girls young people”.

Carly Birks, Grace Iaquinta and Brooklyn Lucas are the only juniors on this year’s competitive cheer team at Baldwin.

The sophomore class is represented by Leah Moeller, Mia Polito, Alayna Scanlon, Madison Sulinski and Gia Tirpak. Freshman team members are Carly Dowhy, Anne Hampton, Maris Kilby, Keira Kozak, Addison Longo and Addy Scurry.

Even though the WPIAL final was in Hempfield, Madden said the Baldwin girls felt right at home in the Spartans’ gym.

“The WPIAL competition is one of our favorites because we have such an amazing fan section that exudes our ‘All In’ motto,” he said. “Our alumni are home from college (at that time) and they’re sitting in front of the coaches, helping the girls get through as they are.

“We’re really looking forward to competing again at states at the end of the month and then again at the UCA nationals in February.”

Under the leadership of Madden and Mihalsky, Baldwin’s competitive cheerleaders have qualified for the Universal Cheerleading Association nationals for nine consecutive years.

Last year was unique in that the national event of the UCA took place virtually.

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