Competitive cheerleading with a championship spirit
Cheerleading holds a similar standing in American culture to apple pie, baseball, and hot dogs. Imagery of pompoms, encouraging chants, and gravity-defying stunts dot the sidelines of popular sporting events across the country. The sport has grown to include athletes of all ages and evolved from simple crowd participation to performing high-flying acrobatics, intricate tumbling passes, and complicated lifts. Competitive cheerleading has even been granted provisional recognition as an Olympic sport, the first step toward inclusion in future Olympic Games.
Cranberry Township is home to one of the premiere competitive all-star cheerleading and tumbling gyms in Pennsylvania – the Pittsburgh Superstars. Offering year-round competitive cheer teams, half-year cheer teams, tumbling classes, and tumbling clinics, Pittsburgh Superstars is the program many other teams try to emulate due to its high standards, competitiveness, and family-friendly atmosphere. “We strive to be a close-knit, supportive program that includes parents, athletes, and coaches working together toward a common goal,” explains Aimee Saffle-Nicewarmer, Superstars owner and head coach. “The goal is not only to be a very competitive program, but also a program that others respect because of our commitment to excellence, sportsmanship, and championship spirit.”
One of the gym’s greatest successes is its preparation of college-level athletes. Nearly 40 former Superstars athletes have gone on to cheer with some of the nation’s most notable cheerleading programs, such as Oklahoma State, Penn State, and University of Louisville. Saffle-Nicewarmer points out that her gym’s athletes learn skills that serve them past their time with the Superstars program, adding “Parents are truly making an investment in their children’s futures.”
Cranberry has proven to be a great location for her efforts. The community’s growth, residential development, and reputation as a great home for young families are what convinced Saffle-Nicewarmer to move the gym here from its previous location. The emphasis on family is one of the main values of the Superstars operations. Gym staff strives to create a positive learning environment where athletes and their parents create friendships and bonds through practices, team-building events, and competitions.
The Pittsburgh Superstars program has set the bar high. Future goals for the gym include continued education and training for coaches to ensure athlete safety and to keep up with the ever-evolving sport of cheerleading. Future program expansion is also in the works to offer new experiences for the gym’s athletes. Recent changes include new tumbling classes offered six days a week and skill-specific clinics and open gyms that are available to non-gym members.