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First-year varsity cheer coach ready to utilize teams potential

Stephanie Marsee, a first-year varsity cheer coach at Harlan County High School, is putting her foot down on the 2020 pandemic and working tirelessly for her girls’ success.

Marsee was previously the Rosspoint Elementary School cheer coach, adding she’s excited to see what the future holds as she begins to work with the varsity squad.

“Each coach has their own way to teach, lead and develop a team. This year the major focus will be ensuring that we are participating safely. I will also begin incorporating my coaching practices among the team. I do, after all, have legendary shoes to fill.

“One improvement that is very prevalent at this time is team bonding. We have started this season without time to bond as a team and that is a very important aspect of working isync.

Marsee said COVID-19 has changed many practices across a variety of sports, leaving no stoned unturned like with cheerleading.

The high school recently held tryouts for the 2020-21 team and were planning to uphold all guidelines set by the Health Department and KHSAA to make sure the season could continue.

“One of the biggest impacts on this season will be preparation. Having the time to condition, master routines and finetune all the small details will be very scarce. However, this group is determined and is already putting in the work so they can achieve a meaningful season in support of Harlan County High School and for themselves,” she said.

“Harlan County Public Schools has worked tirelessly to put practices in place for the safety of students and employees, and I plan to follow all guidelines set forth during games and practices. The regular cheerleading season usually begins with spring tryouts and utilizes time during the summer for camps, fundraising and planning.”

But as the pandemic continued, the cheer team’s seasons began months behind schedule. Marsee said she is thankful she inherited many needed items from the HCHS prior coaching staff, which she says will make a short season a little easier.

“I really feel like God puts us in places that he needs us to be, coaching this team is no different. I feel like God will lead me into making decisions that are best for this team while upholding good moral values and standards,” she said. “Athletes appreciate structure, dedication and consistency from the coaching staff. If you work hard for them then they tend to work hard for you. Setting goals for this team and being their number one cheerleader to reach those goals is my job.

“Providing constructive criticism in a way that builds each athletes confidence but strengthens their skills is something that I have practiced all during my coaching career and plan to continue with this team. So far, they have given me 100 percent each and every practice. Supporting them during their wins and losses and consistently upholding expectations buildsthat team cohesive unit.”

Cheerleading is currently restricted to non-stunting practices under Option No. 1 set by KHSAA, something Marsee said he will uphold until instructed otherwise.

“As coach, I am dedicated to the safety of these athletes and their families. I try to teach my athletes respect, personal responsibility and the outcomes of hard work,” she said. “Sports are wonderful prerequisites for life, balancing and upholding school achievements and your dedication to the team prepares them for the demand of life after graduation. I hope that I can instill values and positivity among each of these athletes and show them that putting in the effort and seeing things through lead you to positive outcomes.”

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