It was going to happen sometime. It just isn’t possible to win every time. No one can. The great UCLA men’s basketball team of the late 60’s and early 70’s won 7 national championships in a row with John Wooden at the helm. The Iowa wrestling team led by legendary coach Dan Gable from 1978-86 won 9 national titles in a row. The Arkansas track and field team put together 12 national titles from 1984-95 under running genius John McDonnell (he actually won 42 NCAA national championships in outdoor track and field, indoor track and field, and cross country). But eventually the time comes when they don’t win. It’s sad for the team and it’s sad for the fans. The end of a streak is inevitable.
Our varsity cheerleaders had their Fellowship of Christian Cheerleader (FCC) national title streak end at 7 this last weekend. For each of the last seven years, they have left this annual competition with a National Championship banner. This year they placed 3rd. Let me take a minute to explain why a 3rd place finish is something that we should all be proud of.
In high school sports, teams change every year - seniors graduate, students move to other schools, new students enroll, and sometimes coaches move on. It is hard to develop consistency in a program for any length of time. Last year’s cheer team had 6 seniors that graduated. Two other girls from the team did not return to IRCS for this school year so from the beginning, they were without 8 members of last year’s championship team. This opened the door for some of the younger girls to move up to varsity this year. Our team at National’s fielded two seniors, two juniors, two sophomores, one freshman, two eighth graders, three seventh graders, and two fifth graders. This is a young nucleus that shows a lot of promise for the years ahead.
They were also dealing with a number of injuries. For those of you who don’t call cheerleading a sport, you should see the girls after a competition. They are beat up, and they are used up. The gymnastic abilities and the effort expended leave them completely spent when all is said and done. We have seen pulled muscles, sprains, broken fingers, broken noses, and other broken things. But they keep coming back for more. It is their passion and they go “all in” for their sport.
To overcome these obstacles and still place third is a noteworthy achievement. How does this happen?
A common thread that runs through the three examples listed in the first paragraph is that all of these championship teams had great coaches. I would suggest to you that the biggest key to the IRCS cheerleading success through the years is our coach, Christina Bohler. When I first came here in the 2001-02 school year, Christina was the coach. I attended the FCC National competition over Christmas break for my first time. IRCS won its first national championship that year. Through the years I have watched Christina build the program into a dynasty. Over the past 14 years our elementary teams have won 6 National Championships, our MS/JV teams have won 6 titles and our varsity has won it all 8 times. We are well known in both Christian and public school circles for our cheer teams. Even when Christina moved out of the area and didn’t coach for a three year span, the team she built continued to win. Then when she returned to coaching, they still won. Christina knows what it takes to win. She knows the rules and trends of the sport. She knows the girls and how to motivate them. Her creativity is amazing. She is also a great role model for her team. The Christian component is a priority. A number of our cheerleaders have gone on to cheer at the college level. Thank you, Christina, for your hard work and effort with our cheer teams. You have built a program that any school would love to have. We are proud of you and our cheer teams.
Also, a big congratulations goes to the elementary team for their National championship this year. Also, in the elementary duo competition Taylor and Chloe were crowned champions. The varsity stunt squad of Anna, Kelsey, Gaby, Samantha, and Taylor placed first and the varsity girls team won the “Best Showmanship” award.