Schaumburg cheerleaders are always the same but never the same
The Schaumburg Saxon cheerleading squad is something of a contradiction: It is extremely consistent yet adamantly unpredictable.
The consistency can be seen at the end of its seasons, when it inevitably ends up with another state tournament run thanks to the group's hard work, fighting spirit and selflessness, coach Whitney Gbur said.
Schaumburg came into the season as a favorite for sectionals yet again, boasting 10 seniors on an experienced squad, and having qualified for state in each of the last three years and finishing in the top 20 twice. The Saxons came in 13th in 2014, qualified again in 2015, and ended up at 14th in 2016.
The unpredictability, on the other hand, is something Gbur instills into what she describes as a highly intelligent, diversified and tight-knit team.
"One thing that makes Schaumburg Cheer unique is that we very, very rarely compete the same routine twice," Gbur said. "This might sound crazy to other teams, but it is one thing that differentiates us. Something is always changing, and we are always looking to maximize the rubric. Because of this, we embody the true definition of team: We rely on each other, trust each other, and want the best for each other."
But this season wasn't without hiccups for the Saxons. Constantly learning new routines combined within an ever-changing system proved tough at times.
"We experienced a lot of obstacles with the new rubric and even had some legalities to work around," Gbur said. "In these moments that could have been perceived as defeat, the team used them as reason to rally and rely on each other’s strengths."
The Saxons also rely on another motivator to carry them through.
"Every year, the team runs with a new motto," Gbur said. "This last year it was, “One dream. One Team.” We use each year’s motto as our motivation during weekly practices. We frequently reflect on what the motto means to each of us, and we draw upon it right before we compete. As a coach, I am always looking for ways to bring perspective to the kids that will help them grow as athletes and people."
The Saxons took 19th in the 2017 IHSA tournament.