ROCHELLE — The waiting game for final cuts put an uneasy feeling inside the stomach of Rochelle senior Teddi Hacaga this past weekend, but the Lady Hub cheerleading standout’s nerves soon melted away when she saw her number posted with others listed as qualifiers for the Illinois State University all-girls cheerleading team.
Hacaga will being plenty of cheerleading experience to the Redbirds next year after the senior helped Rochelle win back-to-back Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference championships over the last two competitive seasons. Hacaga’s high school cheerleading career ended in a trip to the IHSA State Championships, but it won’t be her last time wearing a cheerleading uniform, as she will cheer and continue her academics at Illinois State after graduating RTHS.
“I was in shock,” Hacaga said. “All the memories I had of cheerleading just flashed before me, but all the hard practices and the injuries were worth it. It was so exhilarating… It excites me that I’m able to push forward with my cheerleading career and I always knew I wanted to cheer in college. Being able to succeed with that and have the opportunity to cheer at a higher level is really nice to think about.”
Hacaga’s tryout included two sessions, with all prospective cheer candidates performing the school song along with sideline and tumbling routines during the first session. After qualifying for the second session, Hacaga was interviewed before trying out in front of juniors and seniors on the Illinois State team. The Lady Hub senior said she plans to major in psychology in hopes of possibly teaching.
“I fell in love with the campus,” Hacaga said. “I saw things that I absolutely loved and there were areas on campus like the fitness center that I really liked… I take after my mom since she’s our high school counselor, and psychology interests me so much because of the way people think and how we interact with one another. Being able to help people is something that I want to do.”
Hacaga credited Rochelle head coach Trish Rodeghero, her older sister Michaela as well as her current and former teammates for helping grow her love of cheerleading and the high standard of the RTHS cheerleading program. She said she looked at a couple of other schools including Indiana, Iowa State and Missouri before locking in on Illinois State.
“Trish has prepared me so much since my freshman season on varsity and she’s shaped me into the athlete I am today,” Hacaga said. “My sister was a huge help too because she was the one who got me into cheerleading… Everything from stunting to tumbling, motions and entertaining the crowd, I owe it all to Trish and the program.”