Feature: Hacaga cheering on the Redbirds

Former Rochelle student-athlete Teddi Hacaga is enjoying her first year with the Illinois State University cheerleading program. (Courtesy photo)

Former Lady Hub student-athlete enjoying first year with Illinois State cheer program

ROCHELLE — Lady Hub graduate Teddi Hacaga ended her high school cheerleading career with a trip to Bloomington for the IHSA State Championships. After qualifying for the Illinois State University cheerleading team and finishing her education at RTHS, Hacaga now cheers on the Redbirds in Normal, not too far from where she capped off her final high school season.

Hacaga learned in mid-April that she made the final cuts for the Redbird cheerleading team. Since arriving on campus, Hacaga has been cheering on both the Illinois State football and volleyball programs, and she’s represented the cheer team at several events around Normal.

“It has been absolutely amazing so far,” Hacaga said. “My favorite thing has been cheering for volleyball and football. I also love being able to be involved in the community, helping out and getting to know people from around Normal.”

The former Rochelle cheerleader, who also played four years of softball for the Lady Hubs, helped the team win back-to-back Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Championships during her junior and senior years. Her skills as both a base and a flyer proved useful when Rochelle finished fourth in the IHSA Bartonville Limestone Sectional this past year to reach the state championships for the first time in eight seasons.

“Coming from the high school cheer team I both flew and based,” Hacaga said. “I’m now a permanent side base so my skills as a base have become a lot stronger. I’m doing a lot of things I never thought I’d be able to do. My game day appearance with learning how to work the crowd and get the fans more involved has improved a lot as well.”

Hacaga said she practices with the cheer team three times per week, with each practice going for about three hours. She said the difficulty of performing some stunts has increased since cheering for the Lady Hubs, and she said the crowd attendance has been another significant difference between high school and college cheerleading.

“The biggest difference would have to be the amount of people I’m cheering in front of for football games and having so many different events to go to representing Illinois State cheerleading,” Hacaga said. “Although our practices are long, we get a lot of things done to prepare for upcoming events. We do many variations of things and we try new things, a lot more than what I was used to.”

While Illinois State’s cheerleading team doesn’t compete, Hacaga said the team has been fundraising so the Redbirds can compete at the UCA Nationals in Orlando, Florida. She said the team is hoping it can raise enough money to compete this year. Donations can be made at this link (https://www.gofundme.com/isu-cheerleading-road-to-nationals).

“I absolutely love cheering at Illinois State and representing the Redbirds,” Hacaga said. “I thank the RTHS cheer program for preparing me and teaching me all I need to know to be able to do this. I’m forever a Hub at heart.”

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