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Dance and Drill Coaches Association of Oregon honors Canby Cougars' team leader

COURTESY PHOTO: DDCA - Canby's Jenna Jernstrom is the 6A dance and drill assistant coach of the year.Considering the massive success of the Canby High School Cougar Dance Team, it's no surprise folks are turning their heads. Now, they're looking at Assistant Coach Jenna Jernstrom, who has been named the 6A assistant coach of the year.

"Jenna deserves this honor and recognition," Head Coach Jennifer Chaffee said. "She brings so much energy, talent and love to the team. She is a great choreographer, (an) amazing teacher -- and she fights for the team and loves them all."

Like many Cougar dancers, Jernstrom began her dance training at Allegro Dance Studio in Canby when she was just five years old. She went on to be a four-year member of the high school dance team from 2007 to 2011 under Chaffee, and in her last two years under choreographer James Healey. She then made the cheer and dance team at Oregon State University.

After her college graduation, Jernstrom moved back to the Portland area -- and that's when Chaffee reached out to see if she was interested in an open coaching position. Jernstrom said yes.

"It's been so fun to come back and coach in my hometown," Jernstrom said.

But she admits this year has been particularly challenging amid the pandemic. Still, at the end of the modified season with no traditional placements, the five-time state championship Cougar Dancers earned the highest ranking in both their state routines.

And as icing on the cake, the Dance and Drill Coaches Association of Oregon crowned Jernstrom.

"I feel so honored to be selected as 6A assistant coach of the year," Jernstrom said. "There are so many wonderful coaches in our dance community, and they're all deserving of recognition."

When Jernstrom is not coaching the high school dancers, you might catch her at cheer practice or sporting events in her role as Canby High School cheer coach. She is also the gym director at The Little Gym of Lake Oswego, where she teaches dance and gymnastics.

When she's not working, Jernstrom spends time outside with her husband and two-year-old son Braxton.

Kristen Wohlers
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