Posts Tagged ‘Cheridan Eck’

   Dakota Eck made a name for himself in football, basketball and soccer during his days at CMS. (John Fisken photos)

   His mom, Cheridan, has been a beacon of joy as a cheer coach, Zumba instructor and advocate for all things healthy.

   Dakota’s energetic lil’ sis, Aubrey, delivers one final kick before she and her family head off on a new adventure.

Dakota Eck is headed to the big show.

A three-sport athlete for the Wolves during his time at Coupeville Middle School, Eck won’t be making the jump to CHS this fall with his classmates.

Instead, he’ll be attending classes at Edmonds-Woodway, a 3A school which competes in Wesco alongside Oak Harbor.

The change is due to a family move, as Eck, mom Cheridan, the former CHS cheer coach, and lil’ sister Aubrey are relocating.

It’ll be a big switch, as the last WIAA classification numbers shows EWHS with 1,216 students, or, basically, just about a thousand more than Coupeville.

During his time at CMS, Dakota was a key member of several teams, playing for Wolf football and basketball squads.

He also played rec soccer for many years, and was the captain for his pitch team this year.

Aubrey’s enthusiasm meter as a junior cheerleader never dipped below 100, as she spent much of her time immersed in her mom’s cheer world.

Cheridan, a former Sonics dancer and someone who was always at the forefront of health and well-being, both as instructor and participant, led the CHS cheer program for several years.

As the trio heads off to the big city on a new adventure, we here at Coupeville Sports wish Dakota, Cheridan and Aubrey all the best.

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   CHS will have three new head coaches next school year, after changes in the boys basketball, cheer and girls soccer programs. (John Fisken photo)

Coupeville High School has three open head coaching positions, though only one job has been officially posted.

The agenda for this Monday’s school board meeting, which is now available to the public, includes a request to not renew the supplemental contract of girls soccer coach Troy Cowan.

That job is expected to be posted shortly.

The school board already voted to not renew cheer coach Cheridan Eck’s contract at its Nov. 28 meeting, and the job was posted Dec. 12.

The position remains unfilled.

A third coach, Anthony Smith, confirmed he has been told he will not be returning to the boys basketball program.

Action on his contract is expected to happen at the school board’s April meeting, and the job would be posted afterwards.

Soccer and basketball hiring decisions are made by the school’s Athletic Director, Willie Smith, while cheer is an activity at CHS and falls under the purview of Principal Duane Baumann.

School officials declined to issue any public statements on any of the coaching changes.

Anthony Smith coached basketball for six seasons, while Eck ran the cheer program for five and Cowan headed the pitch squad for the last four years.

“I was given a great opportunity,” Anthony Smith said.

His words were echoed by Cowan, who released the following statement:

I was surprised, but the decision wasn’t mine.

I had a fantastic four-year run and am very thankful to Mrs. (Lori) Stolee for the opportunity and Mr. Baumann, who supported me and all of the staff at CHS.

I am extremely thankful for the wonderful relationships I developed with the players and the best fans on the Island!

I tried to change the culture and bring a new and positive approach to the program.

I’m proud of the accomplishments and the growth that I saw in the program, but unfortunately, I came up a bit short.

I honestly enjoyed every minute I spent with the Lady Wolves and will cherish them dearly.

I hope this new direction the school wants to take the program helps them put that first banner in the rafters.

I honestly wish the girls all the luck and hope they achieve their full potential.

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(John Fisken photo)

   In recent weeks, CHS cheerleaders have been restricted on when and how they can practice and perform. (John Fisken photo)

Philosophical differences seem to be at the heart of the ongoing dissension in the Coupeville High School cheer program.

Head coach Cheridan Eck was removed from running practices and game performances after students made complaints to school administrators.

Today’s football game against Bellevue Christian will be the third straight game Eck has not been on the sideline, with neither the coach or CHS Principal Duane Baumann commenting.

The Wolf cheerleaders, who performed at the previous two home games with school administrators monitoring them (they could not stunt without a certified coach present), are not traveling to Lake Washington today.

School administration have said that decision was due to a “scheduling conflict.”

The complaints, as outlined in a letter obtained by Coupeville Sports, center primarily around alleged “harsh comments.”

There are no accusations of anything illegal happening, instead focusing on rifts between the coach and her athletes.

Having said that, it is important to note CHS does not recognize cheer as a sport, instead viewing it as an activity.

That puts the program under the guidance of Baumann and Assistant Principal Melissa Rohr, and not Athletic Director Willie Smith, who is in charge of the school’s other 10 head coaches.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association leaves it up to each member school to make the distinction on cheer for themselves.

Most schools opt to have their cheer program under the sports banner only if they are a competition squad.

While the Wolves have competed in the past, winning a state title in 2006, they have only been a sideline performance group in recent years.

Multiple sources have confirmed cheerleaders were interviewed by school administrators, but all involved have been instructed by the school not to discuss the matter.

Frustration over the ongoing uncertainty continues to build.

On one side are those who believe the school should be allowed to operate in privacy, while the other side counters that CHS is a public, taxpayer-funded school and transparency is vital.

While Eck is currently suspended, and no decision on her final status has been issued, it is the first time in recent memory a Wolf coach has been sidelined.

The complaints, as outlined in the letter and in discussions with parents, point to a frustration among some cheerleaders and parents with what they perceive as the program’s culture and how it is currently implemented by the coach.

They center around allegations of favoritism and verbal slights as well as unhappiness with “last minute” changes regarding things such as uniforms, which they feel adds an unnecessary burden to already busy lives.

Several parents have said they, and their daughters, would like to see cheer recognized as a sport by CHS, but it is unclear what, if anything, that would change.

If cheerleaders were to undertake that as a movement, though, and go through the process of applying to the school for a change in status, parents see an opportunity for a positive to emerge from an otherwise negative situation.

“It could be a real learning moment for the girls,” one parent said. “They work as hard as the other ‘athletes’ and this could be a way for them to make real change within their school.”

Underneath it all is disappointment at seeing the season slip away.

“We spend a lot of money on cheerleading,” said a parent. “Everyone wants to see our daughters have the chance to be out there performing.”

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Wolf cheerleaders will not travel to Lake Washington Saturday with the football team. (John Fisken photo)

   Wolf cheerleaders will not travel to Lake Washington Saturday with the football team. (John Fisken photo)

There is turmoil on the sidelines.

That much we know for sure. If not a whole lot else.

Coupeville High School cheer coach Cheridan Eck hasn’t been at her post during the past two varsity football games, and multiple sources confirm she isn’t running practices.

The Wolf cheer squad, after originally being scheduled to perform Saturday, when the CHS football team travels to Lake Washington High School to play Bellevue Christian, has been scratched.

Coupeville Principal Duane Baumann replied “Scheduling conflict. Cheer will be at the next games.” when asked for comment.

Whether that means a conflict with available transportation (soccer is also traveling to the same location) or school employees available to monitor the cheerleaders in their coach’s absence, was unclear.

It is the only statement school officials have had, as they have not responded to questions about Eck’s absence or her current status.

The cheer coach has declined comment, saying the school instructed her not to speak.

Wolf cheerleaders are now repeating the same company line, referring any questions to Baumann or Assistant Principal Melissa Rohr, who, as I mentioned, have no comment.

Which is their right.

They don’t have to talk to us if they don’t want to, and they certainly don’t have to address persistent chatter that the reason for Eck’s absence allegedly stems from a letter written by parents detailing their differences with the coach.

There are those who have said “The school will tell you when they want to,” followed by the expectation that I should go quietly sit in the corner until the adults make up their minds.

If that’s your opinion, fine.

It’s not something I 100% agree with, though.

Coupeville High School is a public, taxpayer-funded institution. A certain transparency has to come into play at some point.

Also, people gossip, non-stop, part of the boon and bane of small town life, and that’s spurred by all the advances in online nattering.

Part of what I’m trying to do is weed through the rumors and innuendo. The truth will set us free and all that jazz.

And, at the core of the gossip is something bigger.

If a CHS coach is removed, and if it happens because of parent complaints, that has a potentially chilling effect on all our coaches.

With remarkably few exceptions, the coaches I have worked with at CHS and CMS over the years have been devoted, hard-working, easy to deal with, helpful and in the job because they want to impact the next generation.

Regardless of the sport, they have to deal with balancing egos, playing time, parental expectations, winning and teaching.

It is not an easy job, and frankly, it is one which has become harder in recent years, as everyone has become way more sensitive to criticism.

I’m not advocating for a whole-sale return to the “good old days,” back when grizzled football coaches use to bounce clipboards off of kid’s faces (or far worse), but there’s also a point where we go too far in coddling people.

At the same time, every parent’s responsibility is to protect their children, and it’s certainly not my place to tell anyone how to raise their son or daughter.

I can’t speak to the contents of an alleged letter I haven’t read, and I have a great deal of respect for our current CHS administrators.

Their job is often difficult and hard to navigate, especially in situations like this.

As we move forward in Cheergate 2016, I hope for a positive resolution, whatever that may be.

I, like a lot of others, will be intently watching to see what develops.


Thoughts or comments? I can be easily reached at davidsvien@hotmail.com.

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Cheridan Eck was in her third season as head cheer coach at Coupeville High School. (John Fisken photo)

   Cheridan Eck is in her third season as head cheer coach at Coupeville High School. (John Fisken photo)

It is the disappearing act no one will talk about. On the record at least.

Coupeville High School cheer coach Cheridan Eck hasn’t been on the sideline during the past two Wolf football games.

She was absent Sept. 30, a home game against Vashon Island, and CHS principal Duane Baumann was in her place.

A week rolled by, and CHS assistant principal Melissa Rohr stood in for Eck during Friday’s Homecoming game against Port Townsend.

Without a credentialed cheer coach in place, the Wolf cheerleaders did no stunting at either game.

School officials have not responded to requests for comment.

Multiple Wolf cheerleaders, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed they have been interviewed by school officials, and were asked about their experiences working with Eck.

The cheer coach declined to comment, saying she had been told by the school not to speak publicly on the matter.

Eck is in her third season as head coach, running the CHS program through both football and basketball seasons.

Before that, she was an assistant coach under Sylvia Arnold, who retired in 2013.

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