Belvidere North looks to claim fourth state cheer title as new coaching takes over
The Blue Thunder have finished in the top two at state for the past seven years
BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) - Belvidere North’s cheerleading reputation extends far beyond the Stateline.
“I was living in Georgia and my family lived here and my mom was like ‘we’re moving up to Illinois and I want to put you on this amazing cheer team,’” North senior Elle Franta said.
“I lived in North Carolina and I moved here my seventh-grade year and my mom was like ‘we’re going to this school because the high school program does very well with cheer’” North senior Samantha Paris said.
When Belvidere North High School opened in 2007, things weren’t easy when Tammy Rentschler became the school’s first cheer coach.
“I think the most challenging thing was coming up with new traditions because I also had been an assistant coach at Belvidere and when we split it’s like you want to carry over some of those things but you want to establish a new Identity as a school,” Rentschler said, “It takes a long time and it takes a lot of basics and you can’t rush the process.”
“We hoped to just make it to the second day of state and then all of a sudden we broke into the top ten and then we were sixth and then we were second and then with Lacee Sattelberg too, she and I together were state champions three years in a row,” Rentschler added.
After the 2022 season, Rentschler and Sattelberg both stepped away, and in came Kimberly Crull and Krystal Jole from North Boone as the school’s new head coaches.
“We have loved every minute of this entire season starting way back in the spring, obviously there are high expectations coming into such a great program but we were up for the challenge and I think the year has by far exceeded expectations that we’ve had,” Crull said.
“The coaching staff they know who to pick and who to place on this team and after all the practices, the summer practices, the season practices, we just grow this amazing bond together,” Paris said.
“Every competition, every time we perform, is such big progress I’m just so excited to head into it and just do what we know how to do,” Franta said.
“This season our motto has been ‘progress over everything’ so long as our kids and our team are making progress so that’s really all that matters,” Crull said.
“We’re such a family and we’re together so much that we have to talk through it and work through it and remind them that it’s the ‘we over me’ because there’s not one person on this team that could go out there and win alone, it’s a true group process and it’s not like we have people on the bench,” Rentschler said, “Anywhere on the podium would be great, they’ve worked so hard and they’ve come so far that no matter where they finish I’m going to be proud of them.”
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