BHS basketball cheer team prepares for season with summer camp

Published 11:13 pm Sunday, July 2, 2023

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The Bearcats basketball cheer team held summer camp last week.


Cheerleaders learned new cheers and got to know each other better over the five-day session. Head Coach Kimberly Barthel said the girls got comfortable with each other throughout the camp.

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“We came in, and, you know, everybody was in their shell,” Barthel said. “But they started opening up now. We’re to the point where we can talk to each other and, do that, constructive criticism.”


The team is split between Varsity and Junior Varsity, but Barthel said she wants it to feel like one big team. She said she will have the teams travel together and do community work to bring them closer together. 


The camp started Monday and ran through Friday, where the team showcased the cheers they learned. The group learned 20 cheers by the showcase, all created by Assistant Coach Dee Perkins. He said cheer squads today can find routines online to adopt, but he wants his girls to perform originals.


“If I’m the coach, anything I put my name on, I want it to come from me,” Perkins said. “You got to bring your own flavor to the table, don’t do what everybody else is doing.”


Stomp and shake is the style of cheer the team will be doing this year, according to Perkins. He said it takes inspiration from HBCU step teams.


“You’re basically singing songs and doing a beat with our feet and our hands,” Perkins said. “Basketball cheerleading is like a mixture of stepping and dancing.”


This season is Head Coach Barthel’s first year coaching the cheer team. She said she has no history with cheer but puts trust in Perkin’s many years of cheer and dance experience.  


“[Perkins] is the guru of cheer,” Barthel said. “He’s done cheer since he was in middle school. He’s been a cheerleader. He’s done gymnastics. He’s done it all.”


Perkins is a social media sensation. He has more than 600,000 followers on TikTok where he makes comedy videos doing “various cheers about topics people can relate to.” He has made videos about doing taxes, the spike in egg prices and more.


The girls won’t meet again until September when they will run through the cheers they learned during the week. The team will debut the cheers in November when the Basketball season starts.