Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs High School cheerleading squad didn’t let an injury to a key member or a scheduling conflict with one of the biggest football games of the year keep it from shining at the regional competition.
“I did what fit best for both teams,” cheerleading coach Shannon Uris said. “It was tough choice, and it put the team in an awful position.”
Uris made a few last-minute changes after learning that one of the biggest events of the year for the cheerleaders fell on the same day as the state quarterfinal football game against Windsor.
Uris arranged to have the Sailors cheerleaders perform as late as possible Saturday night at the regional tournament in Denver, and she kept the team in Steamboat through the first half of the state playoff game.
“Our main job is to support other sports,” senior cheerleader Journee Heinert said. “We want to be at the games, and we want to cheer.”
Uris said it was tough for the cheerleaders to leave the game at halftime.
“We listened to the football game on the bus and cheered for every play,” Uris said
But the cheerleaders have been working since last summer and also wanted to compete at the regional.
Steamboat, the only team competing in the medium varsity, non-tumbling division, took first place and was rewarded with an invitation to the national championships early next year in Florida. Uris said earning the invitation has been a goal of the Steamboat team, but the squad will not have the money to make the trip.
“I’m just so proud of these girls and the way they performed last week,” Uris said. “Especially when you consider the challenges they faced.”
The team, which is busy preparing for the state meet Dec. 5 in Denver, will have to deal with the loss of senior Lyndsey Chea, who suffered a season-ending injury the week before the regional meet.
“We had to rebuild our entire routine,” Uris said. “Lyndsey was one of our top girls.”
The team also competed at the regional with several members who had never performed at a competition.
“We had a lot of new girls. I would say a third of the girls that competed were new to the team,” Heinert said. “It says a lot that we did as well as we did.”
Heinert said she thinks that with a couple of weeks to practice before the state meet and the experience gained at the regional event, the team should be competitive at state.
The Sailors squad placed 13th at the state meet in the 4A division last year.
This year’s team includes nine seniors: Alisha Repollo, Alexandra Wetzler, Brittany Salazar, Charlotte Letson, Genna Bradley, Hannah Ramirez, Skyler Barry, Heinert and Chea.
Juniors are Catherine Fischer, Kaitlin McBride, Emma Lichtenfels, Erin Duran, Kate Rusk and Kendall Yeager. Sophomores are Brittani Beckwith, Brandi Salazar, Sydney Finkbohner, Mary Mullen, Linnea Franke and Hadlie Quick.
In addition to competing, the Steamboat Springs cheerleading squad has a presence at just about every high school sporting event through the course of the year, and the squad performs regularly at football and basketball games.
“We try to get to every sporting event and show school spirit,” Uris said. “Sometimes we have to split the squad, but we try to get everywhere.”