First male cheer coach at OHS

Ben Stallons becomes the first male cheerleading coach for the freshman squad at Oakville High School.

It all started during Stallons’ junior year at Chester High School (Chester, IL). He had a dispute with his basketball coach and decided he no longer wanted to play on the team. Two of his football teammates were already on the cheerleading squad and started to recruit Stallons for the squad. Stallons said that he finally gave in to trying out after all the encouragement from the cheerleaders. This was just the beginning of Stallons’ cheerleading career.

Stallons has been cheerleading for a total of 12 years. Cheerleading became a passion of Stallons because he was challenged to master difficult stunts. This experience lead to Stallons pursuing his cheerleading career at the college level, cheering for both Kaskaskia College and Southeast Missouri State University.

In college, Stallons took on many leadership roles in cheerleading. He was voted captain and team MVP two years in a row. Being a leader and role model, Stallons was inspired to become a coach.

“I found out that I enjoy teaching less experienced cheerleaders and helping them master new skills and stunts,” said Stallons.

A position opened up at Oakville High School that was just right for Stallons and he became the first male coach at Oakville. He is currently in his first season as the head coach of the freshman squad.The freshmen practice two to three days a week for around an hour and 30 minutes.

The freshmen on Stallons’ squad believes he brings in many new ideas and different stunts for the girls to try. In addition, Phoebe Rodenbeck (9) said that the practices are more structured compared to middle school cheer, and that Stallons is very experienced so he is able to help out the girls a lot. Gabby Michaud (9) said that at practices they are all pushed to do their best and everyone ends up having fun.

“Having a guy coach is no different from having a female coach,” said Rodenbeck.

Stallons said that he did not face many difficulties in the cheer profession. In high school he was one of three varsity football players on the cheerleading squad. Due to his participation on the football team and weightlifting team, he was not criticized as a male cheerleader. Stallons stated that his speciality is in co-ed squads and hopes that he will persuade guys to join the cheerleading squad at OHS.

“My absolute favorite thing about coaching is the seeing the excitement of those cheerleaders I’m working with when they finally overcome a challenging stunt and hit it solid for the first time,” Stallons said.