Bringing Back Some Cheer

New England reviving defunct varsity cheerleading squad after almost 20 years

The new cheer team at New England are gearing up to hit the floor this baskeball season. (L to R) Dessiree Harmon, Chloe Anton, Bennette Mansfield, Duda Cardoso, Jade Stangle, and Skyelynn Edwards. (Herald Photo)

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor

Varsity cheerleading is returning to New England after nearly two decades of absence.

Some of the students started to ask New England Superintendent Kelly Koppinger why the school doesn’t offer the activity anymore. So in early fall, Koppinger set out to gauge the interest of the entire student body.

A signup sheet posted at the school garnered 10 signatures in late October into the first part of November. By the time the group organized the team was composed of six girls, grades eight through 12.

So who was going to lead these girls?

Koppinger approached Rachel Bock, and staff member at New England Public School, who has some past cheerleading experience. Initially hesitant, Bock started to ponder a partner to help her along with this revival. She first thought of Kit Kat dance coach Corey Urlacher.

At a random booster club meeting, the subject of cheerleading coach vacancy was brought up, and Urlacher, having not spoken to Bock, thought of her too.

It was their budding friendship that has made the early success of the team possible.

“Corey and I work well together, I would have called her anyway,” Bock said.

The two fit well together on the coaching front. Urlacher comes from a dance background, and Bock has experience as a cheerleader in high school.

“Between the two of us we have great ideas,” Bock said. “But we’re starting from the ground up.”

The team has been practicing for just under a month, due to the inclement weather. But according to both coaches, the girls have picked up the routines very quick.

“They just all caught on really, really fast,” Urlacher said.

She also said that next year they would hope to get started earlier, especially with the weather that occurred in early December.

The team plans to cheer for both boys and girls home basketball games, for now. Urlacher said they will reevaluate after the season.

The team was scheduled to cheer from the stands against Beach on Tuesday, Jan. 3. They were probably were not going to be on the court until their uniforms arrive. For now they will be wearing Tiger-themed regalia.

Both coaches are excited to revive this activity, and Bock said it is nice for the girls to participate with the basketball teams, even if they don’t want to be out there shooting free-throws.

“It’s just something that’s nice for these six girls to have, not everybody plays a sport and it’s nice to have them involved and it’s just nice to have the school spirit again,” Bock said.

The school board, and Koppinger were integral in helping get this activity back in school again, and the coaches were both appreciative of the support from the administration.

“I can’t thank Mr. Koppinger and the school board enough for starting this for the girls,” Bock said.

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