Ellie Koechner

Finding passion is essential for a life of happiness and joy. Xavier’s cheer coach Erica Rheinschmidt’s happiness is found through her passion of coaching cheerleaders. 

Rheinschmidt has been involved with the Xavier cheer program for five years. She first got involved with the program as a volunteer in the fall of 2016, when her sister, Alissa Sabers (a former XHS English teacher), was the coach for the football cheerleaders. The following school year, she became the coach for winter cheerleading (basketball & wrestling). After her sister left coaching, Rheinschmidt took over coaching the football cheerleading team as well. 

Rheinschmidt’s love for cheer started at a very young age, inspired by family and friends, continuing into her adulthood.

“My mom was a high school cheer coach when I was born and for the first many years of my life, I remember going to practices and games and really looking up to those high school girls. My two sisters and I were all cheerleaders in middle school and high school in Decorah, where we grew up. I went on to cheer in college at Luther College for four years,” Rheinschmidt said. 

Coaching cheer is not the only thing keeping Rheinschmidt busy during this school year. 

“My life outside of cheer coaching includes spending lots of time with my family. We are members at St. Pius X Church. I work part-time in the office at St. Pius X Elementary and also for an insurance company doing accounting work,” Rheinschmidt said.

This season, Samantha Robinson was selected to be a cheer captain. Robinson has been a part of the Xavier cheer program for all four years of high school and has had Rheinschmidt as a coach for three. Amidst all of the obstacles the girls have had to overcome this season, Rheinschmidt makes it a point to remain positive in uncertain circumstances. 

“Coach Erica did so much to make this season feel special for all of us, especially the seniors. She gave us a sense of normalcy and we all saw how much she truly cares. It may have looked different, but we had a great cheer season and our love for the Saints never faltered,” Robinson said.

Allie Andrews, who is also a senior cheerleader, added on how flexible and patient Rheinschmidt has been. 

“It was really sad to find out this summer that due to COVID, we had to take out some of the best parts of cheer such as cheer camp, stunting, using signs, etc. Erica has been amazing through all of this though. She has worked so hard to make sure we have a memorable season and I know all of the seniors are so grateful for everything she has done,” Andrews said.

Both Andrews and Robinson have many favorites, but agree that cheer has always been an amazing  way to end each week.

“All of us are involved in different activities, but on Friday nights we come together and have a great time cheering with each other. We are all so different, but have one thing in common: we love to cheer on the Saints,” Robinson said. 

Through passion and determination, Rheinschmidt has found her purpose in developing the young ladies of the Xavier cheer team into role models for future Xavier Saints.