|7/16/2020 2:58:00 PM|
New coaches dotting the landscape in Chisago Lakes
Chisago Lakes welcoming new dance coach, alum Erin Eastman
The Chisago Lakes dance team has a new face in charge of the program, but it’s a face thats very familiar with the ins and outs of Wildcats’ dancing.
Erin Eastman was part of the original Chisago Lakes dance team in the early 2000s, dancing for four years in the program and becoming a captain. She then went on to dance at St. Cloud State University for four years on their Competition and Performance Squad. There she was a part of four different teams that finished in the top 12 in nationals.
Although her competitive dance career ended after SCSU, she dove right into coaching. She was the head coach of the varsity cheer team at MacArthur High School in Houston, Texas for two years, bringing them to a second place finish at the UCA Game Day Championship Competition, and was an assistant coach on the dance team at MacArthur that won the state championship in the Hip Hop Competition.
After her stint in Texas, Eastman was the junior varsity coach of the Chisago Lakes dance team in 2015 for one year, and became the head cheerleading coach in 2019 at CL.
Her teams have been awarded multiple honors at camps and competitions throughout the years and her coaching career is already decorated at a young age.
“While this will not be my first season coaching dance at Chisago Lakes, it will be my first season as head coach. I am most excited about building a program that supports unity, tradition, and school spirit through the sport of dance. I'm also excited to build on technical skills, cardio, strength and conditioning, and Wildcat pride,” she said. “It's kind of surreal being that when I was in eighth grade, Chisago Lakes didn't have a dance program at all. The summer before my freshman year, my studio dance friends and I worked very hard to convince the district to recognize the first Wildcat Dance Team as a lettering sport. Stepping into the role of head coach is a really full circle moment. I have so much love for this sport, the school, and the community and sharing that passion is an absolute privilege.”
Eastman said she hopes to create a space that helps athletes grow, learn and enjoy themselves.
“We strive to teach the pursuit of excellence through personal development and teamwork, ethical and responsible behavior in and outside of dance, adherence to our behavior standards, leadership, strength of character, sportsmanship - acceptance of victory with humility, and acknowledgement of defeat with grace,” she said. “While winning is not an end in itself, we believe the efforts by our athletes to be their best will lead themselves and the program to success.”
Saueressig to take over for Walker in charge of girls basketball program
Jeff Saueressig has been an assistant coach for a long time. He’s been the offensive coordinator for the football team for the better part of two decades, as well as an assistant coach in the girls basketball program for the last handful of years.
In 2020, however, Saueressig will take over the girls basketball program, and he’s excited to get started. He’ll be taking over for Craig Walker, who has been the coach for over a decade and has brought the ‘Cats to multiple state tournaments and produced a handful of Division 1 players and many college-level student-athletes.
“Coach Walker is a friend of mine and I don't expect to “fill his shoes”. I respect all that he has accomplished and look forward to picking his brain when needed,” Saueressig explained. “The fact of the matter is I am not a spring chicken myself, so I have philosophies and ideas that have been formulated over many seasons of coaching. Regardless of whose career I would follow I have to stay true to my beliefs and build this program around them. Some things might overlap with what has been done in the past and some may be new, but either way I will institute what I believe to be the best way to continue the development of the girls basketball program at Chisago Lakes High School.”
Saueressig says he will draw on his long assistant coaching career when it comes to taking over the reins. “Having been an assistant coach for so long has allowed me to gain insight on how different athletes function and the different methods to get athletes to respond,” he explained. “Also, I've seen many program ideas, both our own and our opponents', come and go. This gives me a broad base of ideas from which to draw from whether it be motivational, scheme, team building, or athletic development. I am excited to be able to synthesize all of my assistant coaching experience into a program led by me.”
One of the ideas at the forefront of Saueressig’s coaching is going to be the experience that the girls in the program have.
“I want nothing more than for the girls who commit to the basketball program at CLHS to leave the program having had a great experience. It is important to understand that what makes an experience great can be different for each player. If simply winning is what makes an experience great then I believe the focus is misplaced,” Saueressig said. “Being part of a team, developing relationships with teammates and coaches, improving skills, work ethic, persistence and grit will result in an experience that has a positive impact on these players. Fortunately, a byproduct of this can include winning basketball games which, of course, we will strive to do.”
Stettler pulling double duty, taking over CL cross country squads
Popular boys track and field coach Tyler Stettler will be taking on more coaching duties this fall when he becomes the head coach of the boys and girls cross country programs.
His talents should carry over well, as Stettler specializes in the distance squad on the track and field team. “I have always loved working with the distance group and am excited to carry that over into cross country,” Stettler said.
But, Stettler’s best asset may be the most important factor in the sport of cross country: recruiting.
“As the head cross country and track and field coach, I believe that recruiting is huge! I am also a math teacher at our high school and you could ask any of my students if I talk about coaching track and cross country,” he explained. “I would think you'd get many answers that Mr. Stettler is recruiting all of the time. It was a bummer that COVID hit this spring season because I bet we would have had a high number of track and field athletes and that is a great time for me to convince runners to give cross country a try! I'm also building relationships with middle school phys ed teachers and staff that are into running to help encourage students to try cross country! Our boys numbers are looking good but I am working very hard to help our girls numbers increase! Hopefully students will see how much fun we have as a team to help the participation grow!”
As far as COVID goes, and being a fall sport, Stettler is optimistic that cross country could go forward, easily practicing social distancing.
“I am a supporter of keeping the season on time especially since we can social distance our practices and workouts,” he said. “I bet there are student athletes that would be willing to try a sport like cross country to stay active and be on a team that can socially distance [if other sports weren’t available]. I'm curious to see how the state will mandate meets because first and foremost I want to keep our student athletes safe!