The Salida High School competitive cheerleading team competed in the 3A all-girl state spirit championships March 25.
Out of 14 squads, Salida finished eighth in the competition.
“They did good,” said coach Lisa Carpenter. “With all of the changes we had to make in the last couple of weeks, they stepped up.”
Salida was planning on competing in the co-ed division, but the team’s only boy and another member quit right before the league competition March 11, forcing the team to switch its routine up.
In the all-girl division, Carpenter said they don’t have to do the required co-ed stunts, but still do stunts. The girls also get judged on their dancing more, the coach said.
Salida struggled a little at the league meet with only a couple days to learn the new routine and finished fifth out of six teams.
“We kept most of the routine, but had to switch around the stunts, which was the hardest part,” said senior Jayanah Berry. “We had to switch around people and learn new things in the weeks before state. It was stressful, but it worked out; we were better with the new routine.”
By the time state rolled around, the Lady Spartans were also able to polish their routine. Salida had no deductions and no falls during the state competition.
“We fine-tuned it for state,” Carpenter said. “For the most part, they were happy to be back on the mat doing something. We had a really good time. It was mostly about team bonding; we made it a two-day thing, went to the zoo and took our sideline team too.”
Berry said they did a good job using volume and enthusiasm in their routine at state.
The state competition was also different this year due to the pandemic. Only the team’s parents were allowed in for their performance. The team had to leave after they performed and couldn’t watch any of the other teams’ routines.
“State was a little different; usually we get to see what we’re up against,” Berry said.
The coach also said COVID-19 and the switching of the volleyball and basketball seasons so they overlapped made for a smaller team this year. Salida has 10 cheerleaders this season, including six on the competition team. In recent years it has had as many as 32 participants.
The competition team includes Berry, Jayden Russell, Madison Hansen, Maia Lee, Shannon Hall and Shaylyn Gallegos.
Salida’s cheerleaders haven’t been able to cheer at any games this year either. On Friday when Salida football hosts Steamboat Springs, the cheerleaders will get to be on the sideline cheering them on for the first time this year. As of right now, the team will get to cheer at the three home football games this season.
“We’ve been waiting all year to get back to football,” Berry said. “It’s been pretty rough (not being on the sideline). We usually like travelling; it’s a bonding experience.”
“Not going to games is a huge difference,” Carpenter said. “We’re super excited about (Friday).”