Spirit Challenges and Changes

Cheer coach Tana Day resigns mid-season

From big bows to pointed toes, to all that glitters and glows, are all things cheerleaders experience frequently, but rarely have they tumbled in situations involving cheer coaching staff.

The cheer squad is experiencing a mid-season coaching change on the heels of coach Tana Day’s resignation, which was officially accepted at the Dec. 12 board of education meeting.

The first month’s of the cheer team’s season went smoothly enough. Except when Day twice failed to show up to early morning practices, which left the squad without a leader and the team members stuck at the school for no reason.

Senior cheer co-captain Reagan Mantz said many standards set at the beginning of the year, such as being present at practice, were no longer being kept.

Athletic Director Dan Whisler declined to comment on the situation beyond what was shared at the board meeting due to it being a personnel issue.

“I think she didn’t have enough time to do as good as a job as she wanted to, so I think she felt  the squad would be better equipped in someone else’s hands,” senior Mia Steinmetz said.

Agreeing with Steinmetz, senior co-captain Taylor Petz felt torn by the situation.

“For the most part, Tana knew what she was doing. She was at a close age to us, so it was easy to relate to things better. But her just coming out of college, she just had other responsibilities that she wanted to take on and wasn’t always there like she needed to be,” Petz said.

Coaching changes can be hard for anyone, but it can be even more challenging for new cheerleaders and incoming freshman.

“The seniors know how to do all of the cheer things, what to do, how we are supposed to look, and coming in as a new person and having to learn everything new and then having it completely changed was really difficult for me,” freshman Haddie Boeken said.

Although young cheerleaders felt the impact of yet another alteration, veterans felt the change would bring more advantages for all.

“I think it is beneficial for a lot of us because as older girls we know what the standards should be and what should be going on and they weren’t,” Mantz said. “I think that for the younger girls it is better for them to have an image of what cheering should be and things cheerleaders should be doing in school. I think now they will have better leadership so they can actually do those things.”

Bringing in new leadership is Jennifer Mantz who was offered a supplemental contract to be the cheer coach for the remainder of the school year. Mantz has never coached cheer before but cheered in junior high, high school, and college.

I’m excited about working with these girls and getting to know a few girls that otherwise I may never get to know. They are a great group of girls,” Mantz said.

Besides a big change in coaching staff, many cheerleaders are looking for the difference in coaching styles.

“The biggest change we will face is the accountability. We will be held accountable for things now,” senior Lexi Edwards said. “We are going to have to start being on time and showing up to practice. We are going to have to be at the games on time and we are going to have to step up our cheer level.”