Planet grads cheering on
Eagle Staff Writer
Written by:
June 14, 2017

ADAMS TWP — Cheer on.

Mars graduates Madison Caruso and Emily McMaster will be doing exactly that next school year — at Purdue and Clarion universities, respectively.

“Both girls got their names out there on a cheerleading web-site and were actively recruited by those schools,” Mars cheer coach Natalia Rippole said. “There are opportunities for girls who want to pursue them.”

Mars instituted a competitive cheerleading program last year and “all of those girls are capable of this,” Rippole said.

Caruso plans to begin her collegiate career as a communications major. She also considered Ohio University and Mississippi before deciding on Purdue.

She was a member of the Planets' competitive cheer team for the past two years.

“That definitely helped me,” Caruso said of competitive cheering. “Being able to compete in school challenged me to improve my skills.

“I've done all-star cheerleading, but this was different from that.”

Caruso visited Purdue in February and was on coach Steve Solberg's recruiting list since. She returned to the campus in West Lafayette, Ind., in the spring for official tryouts.

Caruso was one of 17 cheerleaders to make the all-female squad. Between 50 and 70 girls tried out. Purdue has a coed squad as well.

McMaster won't be cheering in front of thousands of people, but she will be enjoying the sport she loves. She looked at Duquesne, Robert Morris and Bloomsburg before deciding on Clarion.

McMaster began her senior season on Mars' competitive team, but dropped off due to too heavy a workload.

Like Caruso was by Purdue, McMaster was actively recruited by Clarion.

“We had to go through a three-day process of workouts and the tryouts were on the fourth day,” McMaster said. “A lot of jumping, dancing ... They wanted to see how well we can perform.”

Clarion kept 29 of the 38 girls who tried out.

McMaster plans to study early childhood and special education in college. She said her experience with the Mars competitive team “gave me a new perspective in how hard you have to work at this.”