STAFF

Samantha McChesney

Owner/Coach

Hello! Welcome to Ignite Cheer Academy! I fell in love with cheerleading the second I started in 2008. I was about to start my freshman year of high school when my friends told me to tryout for the high school cheerleading team. I went to the last day of tryouts, made the team, and it has been history from there. I started coaching the youth teams two years later and have been coaching ever since. I love everything about cheerleading and hope to pass that devotion to the sport to younger athletes. I started Ignite Cheer Academy to help cheerleaders find a home in the sport, have the option to compete at a high level or to participate non-competitively. I cheered in college my freshman year when I sadly had to retire from cheerleading due to seizures; my passion for coaching was kicked into high gear at that moment. I was the head coach at King Philip High School, followed by assistant coach at Walpole High School for four years, and now the head coach at Walpole High School and Framingham State University. I have been given the opportunity over the years to coach pop warner, high school, college, all star teams. I have been fortunate enough to coach athletes who have moved on to successful cheerleading careers including Collegiate National Champion titles. I am USASF All Star Cheerleading certified. I look forward to working with your child and helping to instill confidence, leadership, and teamwork skills. Outside of cheerleading you can find me studying, working out, and making crafts!

BS Exercise Science

MS Rehabilitation Science

Emergency Medical Technician

Ally Moran

Tumbling Instructor/Coach

Hi, my name is Ally, and I’m beyond excited to join Ignite Cheer. I come with 12 solid years of coaching experience, which includes gymnastics, all star cheerleading, youth cheer, group gymnastics, and parkour to children of all ages and ranging in strengths and abilities from beginner to elite. I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to be mentored by a former Ukrainian National Gymnast who taught me so much about the delicate biomechanics, physics and psychology of the sport. I have also been so fortunate to have had a great coach who went above and beyond for me, so I know how much of a difference a good coach can make. The gym has saved me over and over again, teaching me the most important of life’s lessons. My goal is to help create a healthy environment for athletes so they have a place where they can grow as individuals and safely stay active while learning to flip! With a nursing career around the corner, I emphasize safety on everything I teach. I focus on using proper technique and body mechanics to reduce the risk of both acute injuries as well as over-use injuries. Every child is so unique with their own strength, flexibility, fears, and my coaching really tailors to each without interrupting class, but rather fosters an open mind set and acceptance for differences amongst peers. I always explain to the girls that in order to teach every one the same things, I have to teach you all differently. What might have worked for someone else, might not work for you but that’s okay! I have plenty of different ways to try the same thing and I won’t give up until you do! However, the results I typically get are confident and long lasting from the athletes because of the progressions and concepts they learn along the way. In my opinion, tumbling should develop as one would learn to write their letters, with enough proficiency they can progress and we can perfect the neatness, quickness etc...as we go. This method is great for motivation helping to create attainable goals. With their success comes higher self esteem and more confidence in all that they do! 

Christina Cacia

Coach


Hello, my name is Christina, and I am very fortunate to be a part of Ignite Cheer Academy!  I developed my passion for cheerleading when I joined my town’s Pop Warner program in Natick, as a 3rd grader.  I cheered all through elementary, middle, and up to the high school.  Once I reached the high school level, I went back to help coach Pop Warner for all 4 years.  My senior year, we attended UA Camp, where I was pulled aside to try out for UCA staff.  Without hesitation, I tried out and made UCA Staff on the spot.  I worked for UCA for 7 years; teaching summer camps ranging from 15-300 campers, as well as judging some competitions throughout the year.  I graduated high school and attended the University of Hartford for 2 years.  I cheered both years and was named Captain after my first year.  I took 2 years off from college and transferred to Framingham State University where I fulfilled my last 2.5 years of competitive cheer, while studying criminology.  I became the JV and assistant varsity coach for Natick High School, my hometown, for 2 years while I was a student in at Framingham State.  After I graduated College, I went to work full time, but was fortunate enough to continue coaching.  After 2 years as the JV and assistant varsity coach, I was pronounced the Head Varsity Coach at Natick High School.  I proudly held that title for 3 years, until I made the hardest decision to leave and take on a career change.  When Sam asked me to join her team, I knew I still had that passion for cheer and was not ready to put out the flame. 

Casi Knauer

Coach

Hello! My name is Casi and I am excited to be a part of Ignite Cheer Academy! I have over ten years of personal experience as a competitive cheerleader, including high school, college, and all star cheerleading. During my years as a college athlete, I won two national championships at the NCA DIII collegiate level. I also had the privilege of competing at the USASF Cheerleading Worlds for five consecutive years! I have now been coaching in some capacity for over 10 years. I have worked as a tumbling coach, helped to run cheerleading clinics for high school and all star programs, run a youth program while working internationally in the Philippines, and been on summer staff for New England Cheerleaders Association. I am currently the head coach for the varsity cheerleading team at Uxbridge High School. When I am not coaching, I am a special education teacher in Uxbridge Public Schools at the Intermediate grade levels. I have been a full-time teacher for the past 6 years and have a passion for working with students. My current role has a large focus in social/emotional learning and building the mental skills that students and athletes will need across all areas of life.

Achievements:

2019: Undefeated Season

2019: 1st place: 11  /  2nd place: 2  /  3rd place: 2

2018: 1st place: 17 /  2nd place: 8  /  3rd place: 4

2017: 1st place: 18  /  2nd place: 5  /  3rd place: 4

2016: 1st place: 6  /  2nd place: 4  /  3rd place: 3

2015: 1st place: 7  /  2nd place: 3  /  3rd place: 1

2014: 1st place: 5  /  2nd place: 2  /  3rd place: 2

2013: High School Nationals 2nd Place

2013: National Jump Champion

2013: National Stunt Champion

2013: Bay State All Star

2012: 1st place: 2 /  2nd place: 2 /  3rd place: 0

2012: Regional Champion

2012: Grand Champion

2011: High School National Champion

2011: 1st place:  4 /  2nd place: 2 /  3rd place: 1

2010: 1st place: 3 /  2nd place: 2 /  3rd place: 1

2009: 1st place: 3  /  2nd place: 2 /  3rd place: 0

2008: 1st place: 2  /  2nd place: 1 /  3rd place: 1

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-12 years coaching experience 

-Years of varying drills and progression work

-Ability to quickly identify errors/mistakes and correct them

-Ability to explain complex concepts to children of all ages, intelligence, personalities in terms and analogies they understand more easily. 

-Willing to work through fears and anxieties with athletes in general and for ‘lost’ skills or fear of going backwards (sometimes referred to a mental block) 

-USAG professional membership since 2013 (requires background check every 2 years. risk management/safety course and safe sport course annually)

-USASF professional membership 

-CPR/First aid certified since 2008

-EMT certificate of completion (Boston University 2013)

-Cheerleading judge for AYF 2014-2019

-USAG/NAWGJ Gymnastics Judge (r4/5)

-Currently working towards RN (MassBay) 

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-Extensive amount of judging for AYF competitions

-Judged Rhode Island States competition 3 years in a row

-CPR/First aid certified since 2016

-7 years on UCA Staff

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-Licensed teacher for the state of MA -Accredited Interscholastic Coach through the NFHS

-Certifications in CPR and First Aid

-Certification in Youth Mental Health First Aid

Amber Hamilton

Coach

Hi I’m coach Amber and I am studying biology pre-health at Framingham State University with a neuroscience minor. When I was in high school and early college I worked at a constant drop off daycare center, where I worked with kids ages 8 weeks old to 15 years. I worked with them on life skills as well as sharing and treating others with kindness. I love cheerleading because of the skills it gives you for life in general. I always know how to keep a positive mindset and keep going because of cheerleading. I have been cheering since 2008 in all-star, did my four years of high school cheer at Weymouth High from 2013-2017, and was captain my senior year. I am on my fourth cheering at Framingham State, and the two times I got to compete at NCA College Nationals we placed 3rd.

⁃2008-2009 Junior 1, Undefeated    

⁃2009-2010 Youth 2    

⁃2010-2011 Youth 3, Junior Coed 4, Senior 2- Cheersport National Champion   

-2011-2012 Worlds Senior 5    

⁃2012-2013 Senior 4/5 - UCA Allstar International Champion    

⁃2013-2014 High School, Worlds Senior Coed 5, Junior 4    

⁃2014-2015 High School, Worlds Senior 5, Junior 4    

⁃2015-2016 High School, Worlds Senior 5  

⁃2016-2017 High School, Worlds Senior 5, Senior 2 - 3rd Place at NCA Allstar Championship Dallas    

⁃2017-2018 FSU College Cheer, 3rd Place at NCA Nationals, Raw Score in 1st

⁃2018-2019 FSU College Cheer, 3rd Place at NCA Nationals

Kira Weiss

Coach

Hi! My name is Kira. I am studying to become a teacher at Framingham State University. I’m from Arlington, MA and coached gymnastics at the Gymnastics Academy of Boston Cambridge for the past six years. I started off with gymnastics at age four, then at age 10 I switched to recreational all-star cheerleading. I was a part of the varsity cheer team at Arlington High School for three years and was acting captain my last year. I was a dual enrollment student my senior year of high school with Middlesex Community College and I took all college level classes. I now go to Framingham State and work as a supplementary instructor for precalculus and student admissions representative. I’m also part of the cheer team at Framingham State University and Ignite Cheer Academy. What I love about coaching is when the light clicks on for the student and they finally get what they’ve been working so hard for. I also love hanging out with them and creating new bonds :) 

-Junior cheer captain

-Jamfest Nationals Northeast Champion 2011

-2014 League Champions

-Gymnastics Academy of Boston coach (6 years)

-Gymnastics Academy of Boston summer camp director 2019

-Framingham State University cheerleader 2019-present

Ignite Cheer Academy cheerleader on Inferno

Emily Gouthro

CheerABILITIES Coach

Hello, I’m Emily and I am the coach of the All Star CheerABILITIES team! I have been working with individuals with developmental disabilities for over 4 years. It excites me to make a difference in the lives of individuals struggling to see their full potential. Providing an immense amount of support and positive encouragement, as well as a sensitive mindset is important to me while coaching this team. My patience and positive attitude will allow me to encourage individuals to see their strengths and accomplish their goals. My background includes taking care of all types of individuals and molding to each unique personality type; I find it important to cater to the needs of all individuals seeking to accomplish their hopes and dreams. I am driven to overcome any obstacles that stand in the way of bettering the lives of others. These individuals teach me new things everyday, including how to be a caring and compassionate person and I am forever grateful for that.