Mychaela Hurst’s passion for cheerleading has taken on many forms since she took up the sport in fifth grade. After four years with the Rochelle Township High School cheerleading program, Hurst has returned to her alma mater, this time as head coach of the junior varsity team.
Hurst enjoyed an accomplished cheerleading career with the Lady Hubs, helping Rochelle bring home back-to-back Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Championships in 2017 and 2018. Hurst, who was a member of the 2018 IHSA State Championship qualifying team, began her coaching career shortly after graduating high school, working with both the Rochelle Middle School program and the Rochelle Junior Tackle program as an eighth-grade coach and cheer manager.
When this past winter rolled around, Hurst received an opportunity to come back to the RTHS cheerleading program as head coach of the junior varsity team. While she was initially unsure, the former Lady Hub accepted the coaching position and has thrived in the role ever since.
“I thought about it for a while because I wanted to be sure I could give my time and dedication to such a great program,” Hurst said. “The next thing I knew, I was coming to practices and helping out the team. At that moment, I knew that coaching was what I wanted to do. I truly enjoy going to our games again. It’s tough to beat small-town Friday night home games where we can see the girls and watch them in their element and engage with the crowd.”
Hurst, who’s currently studying cosmetology at Debutantes School in DeKalb, has become a role model for Rochelle’s incoming cheerleaders, who Hurst said she feels she can relate to through her experiences as a student-athlete. She said that becoming a high school coach has reinforced her values of trust and responsibility, values she’ll look to bestow on her cheerleaders.
“My recent experience as a cheerleader helps me relate to the girls because I’ve been in their shoes,” Hurst said. “I know they are trying to balance practice with school, work, families and their social lives. Being a cheerleader taught me to be responsible and know that others were counting on me. Coaching has taught me how to let go and always trust the girls. They know what to do and only they can make it happen. Once they step in front of the crowd, I know I can no longer manage what happens, so I always cheer them on knowing they’ll do great.”