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Bayfield cheerleaders ready to fly high

Wolverines to compete at state spirit championships Friday
The Bayfield High School cheerleaders perform at halftime of a football game this fall. Next week, the team will compete in the state spirit championships. (Photo by Cody Olivas/Durango Herald file)

The Bayfield High School spirit team has been one of the top teams in Class 2A and 3A the past few years. Next Friday at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, the Wolverines will look to make the state finals once again when they compete in the 2A/3A co-ed championships.

“We’ve taken second every year (for the past three) and are hoping to at least get second again,” said BHS head coach Annette French. “Our rival Coal Ridge is a really difficult team to beat.”

The Bayfield High School cheerleaders prepare for the upcoming state championships recently. Front row, from left: assistant coach Kaitlyn Gosney, Aubrey Mitzlaff, Maddie Owen, Hayden Ludwig and head coach Annette French. Middle row:Karyssa Gosney, Shayden French, Lexi Wold, Maggie Eidem and Adonia Davis. Top row, from left: Raygan Gosney, Catherine Ludwig , Emma Vaughn, Sara Evans, Aleaha Ribeara, Renae Foutz and Tristan French. Courtesy

Coal Ridge was won the last three state titles in the division.

After only having a team of two before French took over five years ago, the coach said they’ve been happy with their runner-up finishes.

“We’ve definitely worked hard to get where we are,” French said.

Leading the Wolverines this season are senior captains Lexi Wold and Karyssa Gosney. “They definitely have experience and were part of the team that went to nationals (in 2019),” French said. “They both have great work ethics.”

The team’s two boys, seniors Tristan French and Raygan Gosney, also add to what the team can do.

“We have some really good co-ed stunts this year,” French said.

One co-ed stunt they do well is called an extended lib, where the boys hold their teammates over their heads while the girls balance on one foot.

French, who also plays soccer, has cheered four years for Bayfield while Gosney, who also plays football, is competing for the first time this year. “He picked it up really quickly,” French said about Gosney.

In addition to the co-ed stunts, French said the team also has some strong tumbling. The cheerleaders do round-off back handsprings, standing back handsprings and standing back tucks.

The squad is composed of five seniors, one junior, one sophomore and eight freshmen, including Catherine Ludwig , Emma Vaughn, Sara Evans, Aleaha Ribeara, Renae Foutz, Shayden French, Maggie Eidem, Adonia Davis, Aubrey Mitzlaff, Maddie Owen and Hayden Ludwig.

“Putting the seniors and freshmen together is pretty exciting for me,” French said, noting that she’s coached all of them before. All but one freshmen also compete on an all-star cheer team and have competed in national championships.

At state, the team will perform a 2½-minute routine, including leading the audience with a team cheer and stunting and tumbling to music.

French said she hopes the team can hit a solid routine and the rest will take care of itself.

“We’ve got probably the best stunts we’ve had,” French said. “Just hitting those solid and do what they have been doing in practice. Hopefully with all of the nerves, they can pull it off. I think they’ll do well and be able to pull it off.”

The top three teams from the preliminary round will advance to the state finals.

After the state competition, Bayfield also will try to qualify for the USA Nationals again this year. To do that, they’ll head to Anaheim, California and compete in the regional championships on Feb. 25.