Cheerleading: Estock qualifies for Olivet Nazarene University cheer team

Rochelle senior Rivers Estock will continue her academics and her cheerleading career at Olivet Nazarene University next year. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Rochelle senior intending to study elementary education

Rochelle Township High School senior Rivers Estock recalled anxiously awaiting the results of her two-day tryout for the Olivet Nazarene University cheerleading team earlier this spring. 

It was during her spring break that Estock traveled south to Bourbonnais to participate in the in-person tryout, which was held on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1 at the McHie Arena on the Olivet Nazarene University campus. Having prepared thoroughly for the tryout, which included learning the school song and showcasing several cheerleading and tumbling skills, Estock didn’t learn her fate until the final results of the tryout were announced two days later.

Much to her excitement, however, Estock learned that she would be one of only three incoming freshmen who made the Olivet Nazarene University cheerleading team for the 2023-24 school year. Estock, who intends to study elementary education with an emphasis in early childhood education, said the university aligned with many of her educational and religious values.

“I’ve wanted to go there since I was in middle school,” Estock said. “Once I became a junior in high school, I visited the campus and I really loved it there. Faith is also important to me and that’s why I chose to go there in the first place… I thought the tryout was going to be really intense because I received a packet of information about what to expect, but it was really relaxed and it was really cool that all three of the incoming freshmen who tried out made it.”

Estock spent four years with the RTHS cheerleading program, competing on the JV team over her freshman and sophomore seasons before elevating to the varsity team for her junior and senior seasons. A two-time Interstate 8 Academic All-Conference honoree, Estock received the Spirit Award during her junior and senior seasons for her sportsmanship and dedication to the cheerleading program. Estock helped the varsity team win the Wilmington Invitational this year.

“I’m looking forward to making more friends and continuing to grow as an athlete,” Estock said. “I’d love to coach someday and I think that cheering in college will give me more experience and help me learn more skills so I can eventually pass those skills on. I worked my way up from JV to varsity and being on both teams taught me a lot. I’ve also had two amazing coaches here and I learned how to do things the right way. I think that will set me up for success during college.”

Estock filled different roles on the cheerleading team throughout her time with the program. She transitioned from a base role to a back spot role this season due to numbers and she also said her ability to learn, recall and perform chants has grown since she arrived as a freshman. Estock intends to study elementary education in order to eventually pursue a teaching career.

"Olivet Nazarene is lucky to get a cheerleader like Rivers," RTHS head cheerleading coach Trish Rodeghero said. "She truly exemplifies all the qualities that make a successful cheerleader. She puts her heart and soul into every game she cheers. She is one of the most coachable student-athletes I have had the pleasure to coach. She is a role model to younger athletes in our program. She is going to do very well in college cheerleading and I am excited to follow her journey. We will definitely feel the loss in our program next year."