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Sailors show spirit

Steamboat takes second at regional championships

After losing six members from last year’s Steamboat Springs High School cheerleading squad, coach Kathy Jones wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from the 15 members of this year’s team.

But on Saturday, the squad met all her expectations in Grand Junction, where it placed second in the Western Regional Championships. Dove Creek won the title in Steamboat’s class, but the Sailors were not complaining.

“I’m pretty happy with it,” Steamboat co-captain Jennifer Ostwalt said of Saturday’s showing. “I think we got what we deserved. The other team (Dove Creek) was really good, and I think they deserved to win.”

The competition marked the start and the end of Steamboat’s competitive season this year. The squad will continue to work the sidelines of basketball games but will not enter the competitive arena again.

“We had some very elite stunts for these girls, and they did a great job — especially when you consider that this was kind of a rebuilding year,” Jones said.

Steamboat has taken first place the past two years in the regional event, but considering the turnover on the team’s roster, Jones said she was very happy with the Sailors’ finish.

“We lost a lot of key players from last year’s team,” Jones said. “But this group did an outstanding job and came up with a lot of exciting stunts.”

Led by co-captains Ostwalt, Marykate Nerney and Brittany DeGroff, the team capped off the competitive season with an impressive 2 minute, 30 second routine Saturday at Mesa State College in Grand Junction.

“I think our tumbling and jumps were our main strengths,” Ostwalt said.

She said if she could change anything she might have added a little more dance to the routine, but overall she thought the Steamboat team had a pretty strong program.

Brittany DeGroff also competed in the solo dance division at the regional meet.

The Sailors have elected to skip this year’s state tournament, which will be held later this month in Denver. Jones said many of the team members had other commitments, which would have made it difficult to field a competitive squad for the event. Tryouts for next year’s squad will take place in May.

Three members of the Steamboat team, Ostwalt, Nerney and Nicci Curd, are scheduled to go to Hawaii to perform at the Hula Bowl this January. Hannah Bowers will head to Florida where she will perform at the Orange Bowl. Bowers was named Cheerleader of the Year by the team this season.

Jones also will be holding a tumbling class at Steamboat Gymnastics (the Human Services Center) throughout the winter at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Jones said the class is open to current cheerleaders or anyone who is interested in becoming a member of the team in the future or learning the skills necessary to be a cheerleader.

— To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mai jrussell@steamboatpilot.com


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