FRAZEE -- When Katrina Courneya and her family moved to Frazee last October for her husband's job, she left behind her life as a cheer and tumble coach in Syracuse, Utah. That included a successful program and all of her equipment.
Both she and her husband are from Minnesota, and wanted to be closer to their families, though she was going to miss her team.
"It's hard saying goodbye to that many girls, but it's just what we needed to do at that time for family," Courneya said.
But, during the school year, Courneya decided that she needed to go back to Utah and bring her equipment to Frazee.
"We moved here and I was like 'ah, I don't know if I want to get back into it,' but since we've moved back ... I've just been, like, missing it," Courneya said.
She also attended different sporting events and was surprised that there were only cheerleaders during the football season. The style of cheer was also very different than Courneya is used to, without competitions or tumbling techniques.
After gauging interest in Frazee, Courneya created a new business page for North Star Cheer and Tumble and coordinated with some friends to help her get her equipment. They made the 24-hour road trip to Utah, spent another 24 hours unloading it, and almost another 24 hours after that to set it all up.
Now, she is preparing for her Frazee cheer and dance classes to start on Sept. 9. Courneya has 12 years of coaching experience, including about eight years at her own business in Utah. From the age of 3, Courneya has been in tumbling and she joined cheer in high school, so becoming a coach "was a great fit because it's kind of what I knew," she said.
That first year, she started with only nine kids. After ending her season before moving here, she was coaching more than 100 people, she said.
What she loves about the sport is that it works for people of all skill levels.
"You don't have to be the best dancer or stunter, you can be your own thing," she said. "If you're super strong you can be a great base, if you're really flexible you can be a great flyer."
Courneya is already set to start out strong in Frazee, as she has already had a dozen kids sign up for classes. Due to limited time and space, she's looking to only take 40 kids total. She has two tumbling groups for kids ages 3 to 4 or 5 to 18, and two cheerleading classes for kids 6 to 11 or 12 and over. They won't be doing competitions, Courneya just wants to see the level of interest and skill and build on that for the first year.
"We just need to build and grow and give Frazee something different," Courneya said.
Because North Star Cheer and Tumble is not a Frazee High School sport, Courneya needed to set her class start time later in the evening so that all of her kids could attend both their other sports and her classes. She has cheerers and tumblers from different schools in the lakes area, and they also needed time to get to her facility.
Courneya and her husband both coach different levels of the Frazee boys’ basketball team, so their schedules for that couldn't conflict with the cheer and tumble ones. All of her classes are on Monday and Wednesdays.
As she grows her program this year, Courneya eventually would like to bring it into Frazee High School.
"I want to say 'hey, look, we have some options now," she said. "I want to build this program in our school."
To bring awareness to her business, Courneya is offering an open house/free clinic on Sept. 7. She has also already scheduled a cheerleading performance during a high school basketball game this winter.
More information on North Star Cheer and Tumbling can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/North-Star-Cheer-Tumble-317180058984133/.