HomeBerlin NewsCheerleaders triumph in competitions

Cheerleaders triumph in competitions

BCS team is a winning one behind assistant coach Madison Specht

Berlin Community School cheerleaders celebrate their recent competition wins with assistant coach, Madison Specht (far left) and head coach Celeste Buchinsky (far -right).

In a display of talent and teamwork, cheerleaders from Berlin Community School clinched first place at the Carusi Middle School competition on Feb. 10 and secured second place at the Impact Cheer competition on March 2.

Behind their success is Madison Specht, an 18-year-old assistant cheerleading coach and choreographer who is a freshman at Rowan University.

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Specht – part of the Berlin Community School (BCS) for five years – has a rich background in cheerleading. Starting in a competitive cheer team at the age of 4, she grew up in the sport, cheered at BCS for four years, captained for three more and went on to Eastern Regional High School. It was there that she became a captain during her junior and senior years.

Specht currently coaches about 35 girls from grades five through eight along with coach Celeste Buchinsky and brings passion as well as experience to the role.

“I started cheering when I was in competitive cheer team at 4 years old with Interborough Golden Hornets, and I kind of grew up with cheerleading with having my mom as my cheer coach,” she recalled.

Specht noted that working with kids has inspired her to pursue a career in choreography and coaching. She is currently studying elementary education.

“I love kids,” she noted, “so when I had the opportunity to come and choreograph, I was like, ‘Yes please!’ I … love to encourage kids and make them feel independent and powerful and make them feel comfortable in an environment where they can just be themselves and not have to worry about the judgement school can bring to kids.”

Specht stresses the importance of organization, maintaining a balance between being strict enough to earn respect and having the courage to try new things. In the realm of cheerleading, where flexibility and adaptability are crucial, her approach ensures a positive learning environment for her cheerleaders.

Specht also emphasized that the differences between high-school, college and middle-school cheering require a patient approach. She takes things slow – especially with basic skills – to ensure a strong foundation for her students.

 “You might have to backstep and take your time with the basic skills first,” she explained, “so it can be easier for them to understand.”

Specht shared a recent challenge involving a talented team member falling ill. The decision to continue pushing through the competition required the team to redo the entire routine, demonstrating not only their skills but their resilience and teamwork.

“At our practice, we had to redo the whole routine,” she recalled, “and then they had to remember what they were doing. Plus we must deal with the drama of the middle- school girls. If they aren’t working together then they won’t look like a team.”

Specht’s coaching employs creative strategies to motivate her cheerleaders, including themed practices and rewarding successful stunts with candy. Academically, the team supports struggling students by encouraging attendance at a homework club before practice.

Specht’s ultimate goal is for her students to grow into empowered individuals. She emphasizes the importance of balancing sports, academics, and friendships, and offers guidance to eighth graders transitioning to high school.

“I hope that they grow into the women that they are becoming, especially the eighth graders,” she said. “I told them that high school is going to be completely different, so I’m just hoping that they are just able to grow and realize that sports is not going to be your whole world.

“Your friends and academics will be there. Not everything will revolve around what they once did.”

Allie Krug, cheer captain and back spot for the BCS team, shared her journey of transitioning from soccer to cheer and dismantling stereotypes about the sport.

“I love cheer,” she related. ‘I think I never really tried cheer or anything like it until I got to the school. It just became one of my favorite sports, favorite things. As soon as I joined cheer, I quit soccer.”

Krug emphasized the community ties that cheer has fostered for her and her teammates.

“Everyone always associates cheer with mean girls,” she acknowledged, “and it’s such a positive community.”


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