On Centre: Bald Eagle Area | BEA indoor majorettes relish winning ways

May 6, 2014 

Members of the Bald Eagle Area High School indoor majorettes pose in Wildwood, N.J., at the Tournament Indoor Association Atlantic Coast Championships. Front row, from left: Becca Bowling, Jessica Wellar, Cristen Heaton, Gabrielle Davidson, Tyler Bickle. Back row, from left: Mary Veneziano, Nicole Bonsell, Chelcie Goss, Madison Maney, Emily Padisak.


The Bald Eagle Area High School indoor majorettes vaguely recall the feeling of second place.

It’s disappointing, or so they’ve heard. They haven’t experienced it in so long, they’ll take people’s word for it.

On Saturday in Wildwood, N.J., the BEA Jettes completed their second-straight undefeated season by winning a Tournament Indoor Association All-chapter Atlantic Coast Championships title in the Scholastic Open Twirlers Division.

The triumph over Windber Area High School notched the Jettes’ third consecutive Atlantic Coast Championships crown, and fourth overall. Their last loss came in April of 2012.

“I’m very proud of these kids,” coach Kelly Berkey said. “I call these kids my dream team just because every coach wishes they had a team like this, and kids who push themselves to work hard without much coaching. This is that team.”

Berkey shares the coaching duties with Kelley Benninghoff, Bill Bernhard and Linde Miles, everyone under Kellie Long, the band program director.

Before winning in New Jersey, the coaches led the Jettes to a shared Chapter 4 championship title with Bellefonte on April 27 at BEA. Last year, BEA took solo honors, adding to Chapter 4 titles in 2009 and 2010.

This year’s champions were: Tyler Bickle, Nicole Bonsell, Becca Bowling, Gabrielle Davidson, Chelcie Goss, Cristen Heaton, Madison Maney, Emily Padisak, Mary Veneziano and Jessica Wellar.

Davidson also was awarded the TIA Scholarship.

“It’s been a very special two years to watch these kids grow,” Berkey said.

From November, when rehearsals start, through May, the squad typically competes 10 to 12 times. This year, BEA practiced and performed a 4-minute routine titled “Of Roots and Wings,” a tribute to the team and a reminder that its members will always be welcome at their school.

At Wildwood, BEA’s majorettes incorporated moves with one, two and three batons; flag work; and body work, or dancing, into their performance.

“They have a lot of determination,” Berkey said. “Determination is a great word to describe these kids. They never stop believing.”

Berkey also commended the BEA Indoor Majorettes Boosters Club for its support.

“They are a huge part of this success,” she said. “We pretty much ask for something, it’s given to us without question.”

But nobody handed the Jettes another title. They had to work to keep their winning streak alive and head into next season further removed from this concept of defeat.

“They were really relieved, and they were very proud of themselves and each other,” Berkey said. “Which is the way it should be.”

Chris Rosenblum writes a weekly column about news in the Upper and Lower Bald Eagle valleys. If you have news to share, email crosenbl@centredaily.com or call 231-4620.

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