Senior cheerleader Kim Jones wants the opportunity to compete for national championships.
The decision to attend Coffeyville Community College in Kansas came down to tradition and scholarship money, and the co-captain of the Steamboat Springs squad signed a national letter of intent Thursday to attend Coffeyville next season.
Jones will be on a scholarship that pays the equivalent of an in-state scholarship for her first semester before receiving full scholarship money her final three semesters at the two-year school.
"It's always been my dream, so I was happy to make the team, but to have a scholarship is great," Jones said.
The Ravens won the Universal Cheerleaders Association 2003 National Championship in the small co-ed II Division, defeating numerous four-year colleges and universities. In January 2004, Coffeyville took second at the annual event held at Walt Disney World. The UCA competitions frequently are televised on ESPN.
"I've always been into competitions," Jones said. "That's all they do is compete."
Coffeyville is located one hour north of Tulsa, Okla. The junior college has one of the nation's top athletics programs. Jones made the squad that cheers at sporting events as well as the traveling competition squad.
Jones' gymnastics background separated her from other candidates at the Denver tryouts. Numerous schools attended the tryouts where hopeful collegiate cheerleaders tumbled, participated in stunts and performed a cheer and chant.
Jones, who frequently was seen doing back handsprings from one end of the basketball court to the other this season, successfully completed multiple tumbling passes and performed a standing back tuck to qualify for an out-of-state scholarship.
Of the 30 scholarships the Ravens award, 12 go to cheerleaders outside Kansas.
Jones was considering other schools but selected Coffeyville and said she is eager to join the team this summer.
While in Steamboat, Jones has worked extensively with the youths at the Steamboat Gymnastics Center. She also helped to start Cheernastics, which is held Thursday evenings at the center. It is open to current and prospective cheerleaders.
Jones moved to Steamboat with her family in 2000 from Texas, but she is looking forward to returning to the South for a summer job.
Jones will work with the developmental cheer program and help teach gymnastics at the Cheer Zone in Austin, Texas.