Cheer squad – rallying the fans

For the past three and a half years, Ida Charlshagen served as Assitant Coach. After Coach Stacey Rude stepped down last year, Charlshagen stepped up.

“It just happened to work out perfectly that my soon-to-be Mother-In-Law, Stacey Rude, and I shared the same passion of cheerleading and positively impacting the youth,” Charlshagen said. “I have been coaching at games, holding practices, choreographing routines, teaching skills in cheer, dance, stunting, jumping, and gymnastics for all of those previous seasons.”

Charlshagen began dancing as a toddler, years old, by eight she was doing gymnastics and has been cheerleading since she was ten. “In California, I cheered for my middle school spirit (cheering for school sports such as football and basketball) and competition cheerleading team,” said Carlshagen, and she continued cheering through high school entering competition cheerleading. Her cheerleading squad at Granada Hills Charter High School won 1st place during her sophomore year, out of 90 teams in Anaheim, California division at Nationals.

The Friday Harbor High squad has six young ladies this year: senior Lilli Turnbow, junior Jasmyn McEwen, sophomores Paloma Waldron, Paige Carlton-Fleirl, and Sami (Saymara) Carrillo, and freshman Chase Lee.

While there have been co-ed squads in the past, that is not the case this year.

“We do not have a co-ed team this year, but it was a pleasure having Andrew and Ian on the squad a few years ago. A pro to having a co-ed cheerleading squad means your team will have more stunting options and will be able to push high stunts and throw higher baskets,” Charlshagen said.

This year, Charlshagen is working with the squad to improve each cheerleaders’ confidence, individual skills and awareness of their role on the team. Primarily, Charlshagen hopes each participant enjoys the overall cheer experience, and she is looking forward to watching them improve as the season progresses, and seeing them perform up to their individual potential and talents.

“This squad’s biggest challenge may be the size of the team. With six girls we can only have one main stunt group (four girls), which means we have less stunting options,” Charlshagen said. On the other hand, a small group allows everyone to get together on motions, dances, and jumps.

“I can also concentrate more on the individual and growing their skills in tumbling, dancing, stunting, dancing and so much more. All of my girls are shining stars! I am already so proud of them cheering so well at the first away game against South Whidbey!” Charlshagen said. “I am so grateful that I get to see each and every one of these student-athletes grow in the sport and as an individual.”

She sees Friday Harbor’s biggest rival as either South Whidbey High School or Coupeville High School. Coupeville, according to Charlshagen, was extremely competitive last year for both football and basketball. Whatever the fall season brings, Charlshagen and her squad have plans to get Wolverine fans on their feet and cheering loudly.

“We have some exciting half-time routines planned for our upcoming home games, so come support our cheerleaders along with the FHHS Football team,” She said.