Cheer Transitions to All-Male Coaches
February 11, 2021
For the first time in Fluvanna history, the high school cheer team has officially had all male coaches for this season, a significant change for what some might assume is a female- dominated sport. In addition, last year they had a couple of boys join the team as well.
This year’s coaching staff consists of Head Coach Kenny Larios, Assistant Coach Will Price, and Assistant Coach Dimoff. “Historically, our school has always had female cheer coaches. It’s rare to see a male cheer coach. Last year, it was a surprise that a male was coaching cheer and bringing on males onto the team. This year, we happen to have all-male cheer coaches,” said Larios. He believes that is a positive change. “We want to show our school that cheer is not a dominant female sport. By us having male leadership, I think it invites males to our team. Our team has adapted quite well to the transition of all female coaches to one female and one male, to all males. Our parents actually like it and appreciate it,” he said.
Cheer during the COVID-19 pandemic has more difficult than ever, as masking and social distancing restrictions have made things challenging to work around. Still, the team has been working together to get past them. “With a large portion of our sport being hands on and physical, it has definitely been challenging at times,” said Larios. “At the end of the day, it just has forced us to improvise and adapt to the current obstacles we face. Everyone is facing the same challenges and it simply comes down to preparation and execution.
Larios added, “We have an incredible coaching staff and an even better team this year. All that is left to be done is go out each day and show everyone all the hard work we have put into this off-season.”
Even though most teams struggled with meeting and practicing during the pandemic, the Fluvanna Cheer team has been able to practice since the beginning of July. During their off season, Coach Dimoff gave them at-home exercises to keep in shape for the upcoming season. Along with the exercises, the coaches put YouTube videos up for the team to do at home.
“This year, VHSL is permitting cheer to compete, but has limited the skills [that] cheer teams can showcase in a routine. The dismounts cannot be twisting skills and I’m fine with that, because in 2020, they were not worth anything on the score sheet,” explained Larios. In addition to competing, the team has also been able to cheer for all of the home girls and boys basketball games.
While some people think the introduction of male coaches would mean a big transition for the team, the cheerleaders say otherwise. “I don’t think it’s that big of a difference. I personally think that the coaches have more drive and more commitment to cheer now than ever, “ said varsity member Evie Benson.