Cheerleaders garner top division honors

Team prepares for state contest

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— For the fourth time in six years, a Kathy Jones-led cheerleading team took home the top prize at the National Cheerleading Association Rocky Mountain Regionals in Grand Junction.

Jones and 15 girls won first place in their division Nov. 18. The squad also took first place overall in tumbling, in which Steamboat competed against all divisions.

Steamboat freshman Genna Bradley also won best gymnast at the competition. Bradley competed against more than 200 other girls.

"It means a lot to me," said Jones, who is retiring at the end of the year to focus on her other job as the Steamboat Ski Area's lead supervisor for the ski school. "I was really thrilled with the way the girls performed."

The win means the Sailors will travel to Denver to compete at the Denver Coliseum in the state tournament. It will be the second time in Jones' seven-year career that she has taken a team to the state competition.

Jones said Steamboat will be competing against a lot of the best teams in Class 4A. The last time Jones took a team to the state meet, she said the team didn't perform as well as it could have because the its members weren't used to the big stage of state competition.

"I am looking forward to taking this group to state," Jones said. "I hope they do well, but more importantly, I hope they have a good memory."

Jones said the most memorable moment from the regional tournament had to be the Sailors winning the overall tumbling competition. Jones said the Sailors were "far and away the most entertaining team," at the competition.

The tumbling competition involves choreographed routines set to music. Jones said the Steamboat team has been working on its routine since the summer, when several of Jones' former cheerleaders helped choreograph the dance and put the music together.

"You can really tell the difference (between) teams that had professional choreography and where the kids and coaches put it together," Jones said. "Our girls put on the show of their lives. Now we get an opportunity to go to state and represent our school."

The state competition begins at 8 a.m. Dec. 2.

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