Teams have plenty to cheer about after earning top finishes at 19th annual Spirit Fest | SteamboatToday.com

Teams have plenty to cheer about after earning top finishes at 19th annual Spirit Fest

— Members of the Steamboat All Stars had plenty to get excited about last weekend as two teams earned titles and another brought home a top performance award at the 19th annual Spirit Fest, which was held at Elitch Gardens Theme Park in Denver Sept. 10.

"It was our first competition of the summer, and I'm so proud of our teams," said Summer McParland, who, along with her staff, coaches several of the teams.

McParland, who owns the local gym, was thrilled with her team's showing in Denver. Two older groups from the gym brought home first-place trophies. The youngest group, The Razzle Dazzles, a show team made up of athletes younger than 5, made its first-ever appearance and earned a top performance award.

"This is the first time the Razzle Dazzles have gone to a competition," McParland said. "They stole the show."

Not to be outdone, Blue Ice, a youth division squad made up of athletes younger than 11, won the level 1 division. McParland said the team hit its routine and was technically sound in the performance.

"About half the athletes on the team are new,” McParland said. "We had two weeks to learn that routine, and — no lie — they killed it. It was a nearly perfect routine, and they scored really well in the technical portion of the judging, and that's why the overall score was so high."

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The team had hoped to compete at a higher level 2 division, but McParland said many of the athletes on the team were new and were not ready with the stunt and tumbling skills needed to compete at the higher level. As the competition approached, she elected to drop down to level 1 despite the fact the team needed to switch to a different routine.

McParland expects the team to move up to level 2 with a few more weeks in the gym.

The coach was also thrilled with the performance of her older girls that make up the Black Ice squad. That team, made up of athletes 14 and younger, brought home the championship for the junior coed division.

"Headed into the competition they had been struggling with combinations, but they hit it and fought for it," McParland said. "The team's jumps were perfect; the tumbling was amazing. We have been focused on the technical parts of the performance, and it really paid off."

The team is hoping to build on the solid start of the season with a schedule full of big competitions. McParland said the team had added several events this year hoping to earn bids to the D-2 Summit, which will take place in Florida in May 2017.

The team's next big event will be the Universal Cheerleader's Association Mile High Championship in November. The teams are also scheduled to attend two events in January, two in February and one in March.

The junior team will attend all of the events, and the youth team will be competing at several of the competitions as well.

Steamboat All Stars offers programs designed to teach and support cheer and dance programs in Steamboat Springs. This year, the competitive cheerleading programs involves 27 athletes.

"We just keep growing at Rocky Mountain Cheer, and I'm super excited about where these teams are going," McParland said.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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