HUDSON — When the Envisions All-Star cheerleading facility opened in August, 2007, owner Tanya McDougal had only one other coach on staff and seven students. The converted warehouse on State Road 52 has come a long way.
Now, Envisions is bustling with more than 75 students, four competitive cheerleading teams and two competitive hip hop dance teams. The walls are covered with more than 100 trophies and banners, including 47 national championships. There is a full size (54 feet x 42 feet) competition spring floor to give the athletes the full feel of actual competition, while Pasco-Hernando Community College’s cheerleading team practices there.
The coaching staff has also increased to seven, with the most recent addition being Tumbling Director Phaysawan “Pi” Sengphrachanh. He has a decade of successful coaching experience in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and has instructed regional, national and international championship teams.
A native of Providence, R.I., Sengphrachanh grew up in Pinellas County. In high school, he participated in five varsity sports, including football, wrestling and three track and field events. but his math teacher, who was the cheerleading coach, convinced him to come out for the team. He fell in love with the sport and continued to cheer at USF.
His coaching philosophy is simple: work as a team.
“Cheerleading is not an individual sport,” Sengphrachanh, 27, said. “You must rely on your teammates. A routine can only be completed as a team.”
Taylor Eleyet, 14, is a freshman cheerleader at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High and after years of professional dance instruction, she switched to cheerleading two years ago.
“I wanted more of a challenge,” Eleyet said. “Cheerleading is being part of a family. It also develops leadership and time management skills. It’s fun but hard work.”
For McDougal, having Sengphrachanh on staff will attract additional students from Pasco County and the surrounding areas.
“We are ecstatic to have a coach of Pi’s stature on our staff,” McDougal, 25, said. “Envisions is a family-oriented facility and three of our students have already received college scholarships. With Pi as our Tumbling Director, that number is certain to increase.”
For information, contact Envisions at [email protected] or (727) 808-0234.
Correspondent Cliff Gill can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ReporterCliff.