Neuqua Valley Student Goes From Cheerleader to Football Star - NBC Chicago

Neuqua Valley Student Goes From Cheerleader to Football Star

Tessa Kucharski was a cheerleader for two years before joining the football team



    Local Student Goes From Cheerleader to Football Star

    A Neuqua Valley student traded in her pom-poms for shoulder pads, and she's making big waves on the gridiron. NBC 5's Mike Berman has her story.

    (Published Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018)

    For the first two years of her high school career, Neuqua Valley student Tessa Kucharski was a cheerleader, but in her junior year, she turned in her pom-poms for shoulder pads.

    This season, Kucharski has been playing safety for the junior varsity team, and has impressed coaches and teammates alike with her determination and skill.

    “I’ve always wanted to play since seventh grade, so I figured why not follow my dreams and do it,” Kucharski said. “I hope people can see now that I’m not just here for attention.”

    The school coaching staff say that Kucharski made a big impression right from the very moment she started joining offseason workouts.

    “Her determination to be a part of this thing and play this game has been really fun to watch,” coach Bill Ellinghaus said.

    During a recent game, Kucharski made her impact felt in a big way, grabbing an interception that sent her teammates into a jubilant celebration.
    “I just went up and was like ‘Oh my God I got it,’” she said. “I just remember my teammates were patting my head so hard I thought I was going to be concussed, but it felt so good.”

    Her teammates have embraced her whole-heartedly, something that she says means the world to her as she continues on her remarkable football journey.

    “They’ve been by my side the whole time, and I wouldn’t be where I am without them,” she said.

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