The Bayfield High School cheer team earned second place last weekend in the Colorado State Spirit Championship, despite a shorter season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wolverine cheer competed against six other teams in the Class 2A/3A Co-Ed division, winning second place with 63.85 points and no deductions. This is the fourth consecutive competition in which Wolverine cheer placed as one of the top four teams, not counting 2020 when the competition was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve scored really well considering we started practicing in January,” said Annette French, Bayfield cheer head coach.
First place in the Colorado High School Activities Association State Spirit Championships went to Coal Ridge High School from Garfield County, scoring 79.7 points. Stratton/Liberty High School in Kit Carson County won third place with 59.35 points.
Wolverine cheer also won second place in 2019 with Coal Ridge in first.
“Their school is able to pull from all of the all-star competitive teams. Their teams are always 15 to 20 points ahead of us, which is a huge margin to catch up to,” French said.
The 12-person team traveled to the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs for the competition March 26. It had only one shot to perform its routine. In the past, cheer teams would have a second performance if they made it to a finalist position.
The team also had few opportunities to perform in front of its school or even sideline cheer because of pandemic-related restrictions. This was team members’ first time with everyone seeing them, French said.
But they had experience: Eight team members are juniors or seniors, and even the three incoming freshmen had previous experience.
They also had help from Travis Prior, who offered training expertise on stunting and doubling for students outside of practice. Prior was head cheer coach at the University of Colorado Boulder and has been a judge in cheer championships around the world.
“They were pretty comfortable, and they knew what they needed to do,” French said. “That was the first time they executed it that well all around. Everyone just did what they needed to do, and they did it perfectly.”
The winners weren’t announced with a grand finale this year. Instead team members watched a livestream from their hotel room. French ended up running from the hotel to the world arena to try to accept the award on the livestream.
This was the last state championship for four Wolverine seniors: Lakin Hoover, Bella Madonna, Cayenne Carlson and Rylee Pearson.
“These girls went to nationals three years ago. They made this team what it is today,” French said. “They definitely were thankful for the time they put into cheer and sad to see it all come to an end.”