Most coaches wouldn’t call the graduation of three-quarters of the previous season’s varsity athletes “a blessing,” but that is how Oak Harbor High School cheer coach Crista Carlson describes the loss of the highly successful group.
Don’t get Carlson wrong; she would love to have the talented crew on her squad. However, Carlson is new, her assistant coach Maddison Nuqui is new and most of the team is new. With the clean page, the group can write its own chapter in the storied history of the program.
“Having a new and young squad has been a blessing,” Carlson said. “The girls are so enthusiastic and willing to try new things. Many of them are new to the program as well, so we are able to grow together, and we are very excited about the process.”
She added, “The girls that were on the squad last year have been very helpful in welcoming the newer girls to the program and we have really come together as a squad.”
Only three varsity cheerleaders return this fall: senior Gina Jaeger and juniors Hailey Williamson and Juliet Aspery.
Some newcomers to watch, according to Carlson, are juniors Meghan Gronbach and Candis Aborqui and sophomore Jessica Aguilar.
Carlson said, “Coach Nuqui and myself have high expectations for the girls, and so far they have done nothing but strive for excellence.”
She said that the team is committed to “unifying the school, community and and fans to support the Oak Harbor Wildcats,” adding, “We are proud to be from Oak Harbor.”