Steamboat Springs Teamwork, coordination and strength were on display inside the old gym at Steamboat Springs High School on Tuesday as members of the Sailors cheerleading team prepared for the first meet of the season.
Saturday’s meet in Glenwood Springs isn’t the biggest meet of the season for the squad, but in a season that includes just three competitions, every meet is important.
“There are only five teams, but this will be a good competition for us,” coach Shannon Uris said. “It’s kind of a warm-up for the bigger meets we have coming up.”
Uris, who enters her second year as head coach, said the team would focus on fine-tuning its routine and getting used to performing in front of a crowd as the squad builds for the state meet Dec. 4 at the Denver Coliseum.
The team will get its first shot at impressing the judges this weekend with a 2 1/2-minute routine that includes a cheering section and a section choreographed to music.
In addition to Glenwood, the Steamboat squad also will travel to The Mile High Regional and the state meet. Both will be in Denver.
The Mile High Regional, which is hosted by the Universal Cheerleading Association, is Nov. 13 in Denver. The event is a qualifier for the UCA Nationals, which will be in Florida in February.
Uris said the team is excited about the start of the competitive season this weekend in Glenwood at the Spirit for a Change competition.
Uris said the event is expected to feature five teams from western Colorado, including the powerful Glenwood Springs program.
This year, the Sailors’ program has 22 athletes on the team with about 15 on the varsity squad.
The remaining cheerleaders make up the junior varsity development program and could step onto the varsity squad if needed.
“We lost nine seniors from last year’s squad,” Uris said, “so a lot of those girls are just learning what this is all about.”
Seniors Erin Duran, Catherine Fischer, Emma Lichtenfels, Kaitlin McBride, Kate Rusk and Kendall Yeager make up the core of the Sailors varsity team.
The squad also includes juniors Brittani Beckwith and Owen McIntosh and sophomores Sydney Finkbohner, Hadlie Quick, Miranda Salky, Brandi Salazar, Nikki Vande Velde and Ainslee Yeager. Carly Hanley is the only freshman on the varsity team.