Woodbury has a new club worth cheering about.
Javis Borgh has helped the East Ridge High School (ERHS) cheer team for over three years. The team hired Borgh to help its athletes with technical tumbling; but it’s more than his technical expertise that’s drawing attention. Borgh’s positive approach to coaching is attracting more east Metro athletes to the sport.
Schools across the Metro, including Bloomington, Farmington, Jefferson, Lakeville, Minnetonka, Prior Lake, St. Michael Albertville and White Bear Lake, have engaged Borgh’s expertise. When parents requested private coaching, “It was clear there was a need for supplemental training,” Borgh says.
He opened The Tumbling Club in 2021 at its flagship location in Burnsville; its newest location opened in Woodbury earlier this year. It offers tumbling classes and cheer teams starting at age 3 to high school ages.
ERHS parent and Woodbury resident Elizabeth Kriel and her 11-year-old daughter, Lilly, are new to cheer. They first met Borgh when he helped the ERHS cheer team last year. “Borgh is a dynamic leader, and his coaching staff is great,” Kriel says. “He creates a positive atmosphere and supports everyone.”
Kriel was so impressed with what her daughter gained from cheer that they made the drive to Burnsville to take classes at The Tumbling Club. Fortunately for the Kriel’s, increased parent and athlete interest in the East Metro led Borgh to open a second location in Woodbury.
It didn’t take long for Woodbury’s cheer community to embrace Borgh and his coaching staff—they quickly outgrew an Oakdale warehouse space and moved into the current Woodbury studio, which is home to a full-size spring floor and plenty of space to accommodate more classes.
Why the east Metro? “East Ridge High School is unique. They’re very committed to doing what it takes to make the team successful,” Borgh says. “If the team needs extra practice time, families make sure it happens. They know what it takes. They have grit.”
Learning the Sport
As a 13-year-old, Borgh was a baseball player—until his friends invited him to watch a “cheer competition,” he says. What his friends called a competition was actually a practice. Borgh tried it and loved it. “Cheer is a very inclusive sport. More than any other sport I’ve been part of,” he says.
Borgh continued the sport through his time at the University of Minnesota, one of the first institutions to have a cheer program—Johnny Campell started its Ski-U-Mah cheer in 1898, and the program officially began in 1904. “The athleticism required and the performance side of cheer has really elevated in the past 20 years,” Borgh says.
At the university, Borgh studied exercise science; he says sports psychology lecturer Nicole LaVoi, Ph.D., greatly impacted how he coaches today. Later, he was mentored by Debbie Love, a nationally known cheerleading coach. He’s taken the knowledge from his degree and both mentors to focus on improving body awareness to minimize injury in this high-risk sport.
“It’s evolved so quickly that coaching techniques haven’t been able to keep up,” Borgh says. He shares this knowledge with his coaching staff and athletes to prevent prevalent ankle, back and knee injuries. With a focus on increasing strength, flexibility and mobility, athletes can stay in the sport longer.
Sharing the Knowledge
Parents and athletes appreciate his focus on technique. Rising senior Gabby Billmeyer competes on the ERHS varsity team and says, “Coach Borgh is the best tumbling coach that I have ever worked with. He focuses a lot on technique and makes sure you are doing the skill safely.”
Beyond technique, Borgh is the coach every parent wants for their child. “One thing that I love about coach Borgh is that he believes in his athletes sometimes even more than they believe in themselves,” Gabby says.
Athletes are recognized when they learn a new skill, making the atmosphere fun and rewarding. Kriel’s daughter was a dancer and gymnast before finding cheer. “Cheer has been such a positive experience that she only does cheer now,” Kriel says.
At local competitions, young athletes see how excited Borgh gets for all the teams he coaches throughout the Metro. It doesn’t matter what school you’re from; Borgh fosters a positive cheer community for all.
Riley Billmeyer is a former ERHS cheer athlete who graduated in 2022. “I started cheer when I was 5-years-old when my mom signed me up for Junior Raptors camp,” says Riley, an alumna of The Tumbling Club, who now coaches at the facility.
“Coaching has been super fun. It’s cool to see it from the other side and being able to help athletes grow and support them through their journey,” Riley says. “Borgh has helped me learn new skills to teach athletes. He is a very, very positive person, and he creates a great support system for everybody.”
Accessible for All
Cheer is for everyone—there’s no such thing as being too tall, short or not flexible enough, and stunting especially caters to all. For athletes wanting to compete, The Tumbling Club is excited to announce a new in-house competitive team this year, named Cheer Twin Cities.
“At Cheer Twin Cities, our mission is to build an inclusive community where athletes feel valued and cared about while developing self-confidence and grit to successfully navigate the world around them,” Borgh says. And you don’t have to compete to benefit from what cheer has to offer. Local dancers and aerialists looking to learn new skills are also part of The Tumbling Club.
From preschool to high school, classes typically focus on one of the five aspects of cheer: dance, jumps, cheers, tumbling and stunting. Athletes can take classes year-round to advance their skills.
If you’re new to cheer, Beginner Tumbling is the best place to start. Once you’re in a class, coaches will suggest other classes, or you can schedule a private evaluation to find the best fit. Class ratios are two teachers to 12 athletes. Private lessons are also available.