Rinesa Kabashi photo editor
Just as she thought her cheer career was over, former student-athlete Annabel Bao (class of 21)found some time on her hands to become the JV cheer coach.
Bao applied for the job because she was a spring admit at Chapman and was looking for a job to keep her busy.
“I wanted to get a job that was flexible enough for me to leave and go when I needed to. I also really missed cheer, so this was kind of an excuse to get back in the sport and do something that I love,” Bao said.
Although this is her first year coaching, she has incorporated techniques she learned while a cheerleader into her curriculum.
“I have tried to take note of what worked and what didn’t work while I was a cheerleader myself, so I try to stay more on the lenient side. Being mean had never worked, yelling all the time never works, but when it comes down to it I [can] raise my voice and be that mean coach,” Bao said.
Varsity captain Aubriana Schwarz has already seen improvement in the JV team since Bao began.
“This is different from the past year because JV would just be pushed to the side. She makes us do bonding exercises and really focuses on jv when Jimmie [our varsity coach] or the varsity captain are busy with varsity. I have already seen an improvement with the girls by the new skills and drills she has been teaching them,” Schwarz said.
JV captain Chloe Benmoshe works alongside with Bao to form new ideas for the team.
“We work together a lot to make the team closer. Every week we do a new activity to get to know the team more. We also switch stunt groups often in order for the girls to be able to work with all their teammates and be versatile,” Benmoshe said.
Through hard work, Bao hopes to see her girls make finals at Nationals.
“As a sophomore at was able to experience that and, honestly, it was one of the most rewarding feelings I have had in my entire life. Just watching all the hard work that we had put in at practice pay off into something tangible was absolutely amazing,” Bao said.
Eventually Bao has to leave due to starting Chapman in the spring.
“Of course I would like to stay as long as I possibly can, I absolutely love these girls and love this job, but like I said earlier, I leave for Chapman in the spring,” Bao said. “So, I think that is where my time runs out and I would love to accompany the girls to Nationals and see them make finals, but we’ll see how my schedule goes from there.”