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Oak Harbor grad Sarah Reinstra is back in the cheer world, but this time working with Coupeville’s athletes. (Photo courtesy Reinstra)

Cheerleading is a family affair in Coupeville.

When Wolf cheer coach BreAnna Boon is in need of help, she can turn to her sister-in-law, Sarah Reinstra, who is back in the game, sporting different school colors maybe, but still loving the gig.

Working as a volunteer assistant coach for CHS, Reinstra, a 2001 grad of Oak Harbor High School who went on to coach at her alma mater, gets to pass on her passion for the sport.

“Getting involved again with the student athletes was huge,” she said. “Being a positive influence on a child’s life is so rewarding.

“I also liked that sideline cheer has no cuts, giving all a chance to experience cheerleading,” Reinstra added. “Who wouldn’t want to be involved with teaching someone something new and watching them flourish?!”

Growing up with sister Kimberly (Boon) Schmal and brother Tyson Boon (BreAnna’s husband and a current CHS football coach), Reinstra spent much of her childhood involved in athletics.

A talented basketball and softball player, she went to the state tournament with her North Whidbey Little League diamond squad.

Reinstra’s first involvement with the cheer world came by watching her siblings and future sister-in-law “do amazing things” under the guidance of Oak Harbor coaches Pam Headridge and Robin Gohn.

Once she had her own children, she moved into cheerleading as a coach, joining her daughter and sister in the Oak Harbor Football and Cheer League.

“To this day, my sister is one of the most dedicated and amazing coaches I know,” Reinstra said. “Kim and I’s youth cheer squads flourished over our four years of youth cheer, winning the Top Bananas award in 2013.”

From there, the former Wildcat bounced up a rung, returning to Oak Harbor High School for a run as Assistant Cheer Coach from 2014-2017.

“It was an amazing and proud experience to coach at my alma mater,” Reinstra said.

As much as she enjoyed the cheer life, family comes first, causing her to step aside for at least a short breather.

Reinstra and her husband of 17 years, Mike, her high school sweetheart from her OHHS days, have three kids, operate a “little hobby farm,” and both work saving lives.

He’s a firefighter/EMT, while she’s a 911 dispatcher for Island County and a firefighter recruit.

But while home and family come first, once you have the cheer bug it’s hard to let go.

“When you have so many different coaches in the family you’re bound to bounce ideas off one another, all the time,” Reinstra said.

“Every time we’d talk cheer I’d let BreAnna know I could help sometime and every time I’d go home and tell my husband how much I missed coaching.”

The Wolf head coach always told her sister-in-law “you should come to practice sometime,” and next thing you know, Reinstra was sucked back into the life Godfather-style.

It’s a decision she doesn’t regret for a second.

“It has been a tremendous sideline season and the competition season to come is bound to impress!,” Reinstra said. “I love spending my time and knowledge to these kids.”

And for her, that’s where coaching becomes far more than just a job.

“Everyone wants to win awards, but I want to see the athlete’s eyes shine,” Reinstra said. “Shine with pride for a skill accomplished and an effort given.

“When athletes shine they participate 100% for their squad and that is gonna get them to state and NATIONALS!!,” she added.

“I hope future cheerleaders see the joy and hard work of our squads accomplishments and want to be a part of this growing program at Coupeville High School.”

The Wolves have added two males cheerleaders, CHS football players Gavin St Onge and Dawson Houston, to their roster this year, and Reinstra and Boon are always on the lookout to bring in new athletes, female or male.

“Come watch a practice and see what it’s like to be part of a family who are fully dedicated to the success of each other,” Reinstra said. “We (the squad) want to teach you all we know because it’s our passion.

“Being a part of a cheer squad is more than tossing girls above our heads and memorizing chants; it’s about our school pride and fellow athlete’s success.”

The chance to change lives, to give each Wolf an opportunity to soar, is what brings Reinstra back to the field or the gym each day.

“I hope our presence makes their day better,” she said. “That they see us teaching all levels of our athletes because everyone matters and has a role to play.

“That, like in life, if they put effort into even the smallest things, it will set up the rest for success.”

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