The weekend had finally arrived, and with it, the competition that Colorado Cheer Athletes have been preparing for since last year at the same time…The CHSAA Cheerleading State Championships.
If you’ve never been a very competitive person, its hard to imagine the long hours of preparation, rehab, reworking, defeat as well as successes that go into pushing yourself to be the very best at what you do…and all the while realizing that hundreds of other athletes are doing the exact same thing in order to compete at the highest level. Hoping and praying that when it counts, everything will come together perfectly and all of the blood sweat and tears will amount to victory in the form of a first place finish…
This past weekend, not only one, but two teams out of the Elite Performance Sports training facilities did just that: With over 40 teams in each Division: the top 8 advance to Finals, and only one would be named Champion!!
The Chaparral Highschool Cheerleading Program hadn’t hoisted a state championship trophy in over half a decade… and without a leader who could take the reigns and say “IVE been there, we are capable of greatness,” the young wolverines worked tirelessly to attain a perfection that none has ever experienced. Through a variety of setbacks over the past few months that saw these young ladies still searching for that elusive “perfect” routine, many were left wondering what would happen if they could put it all together for just one day. 2 minutes and 30 seconds doesn’t seem like a lot of time to most, but for cheerleaders, its a lifetime!
The opening minute of Chaparrals first State performance looked to be everything that you could for ask until the unthinkable happened. An injury forced the routine to be halted, and put the team back on the warmup mat to rework pieces and wait. I cant tell you what was going through the heads of the Wolverines at that moment, and I haven’t the slightest inkling as to what was said to give them the motivation to go back out on the competition floor again. However, one thing is certain, the Wolverines left no doubt in the minds of spectators and judges as they gave everything that they had left. And, with a few minor mistakes, the young wolverinces were rewarded with a Finals birth and another chance to accomplish their lofty goals of a State Championship!
Finals…a goal that most would settle for in the 5A All-girl Division. And with everything that this team had been through in order to get there, any finish within the top 8 would be commendable. So what was there to lose?
During the previous performance the Wolverines seemingly had the entire Coliseum on their side as they humbly walked back to the floor after reworking parts of their routine to cover the departure of an athlete who had been injured, and they promptly rose to the occasion. But Finals were different… These were the top 8 Allgirl teams in Colorado, everyone would find their allegiances and begin to pull for their own teams. Not to mention, Chaparral’s previous performance had them heading into finals in 2nd place, looking up Grandview, a team it hadn’t beaten all year!
From the moment that the music started, something was different about this team. Even compared to the previous performance that propelled them to finals. As an athlete, you always hope that you can rise to the occasion, that when it counts the most, you can dig down deep and leave everything on the floor regardless of past experiences or anything that led to that very moment. In spite of all of the shaky performances, less than perfect practices and ill-timed injuries that transpired before Fridays last performance, the Wolverines Finals routine looked…EASY. They moved around the mat seamlessly. Stunts that they have struggled with all year went up without so much as a hiccup. The crowd was drawn in with a concentration that Ive only experienced at the national level, and by the end of the routine everyone in the building knew that these young ladies had given themselves a chance to hoist that elusive State Championship Trophy!
The Cheerleading State Championship announcement is never easy to listen to. Regardless of how well you think you performed, there are a few things to keep in mind: Penalties, which can be the death of a near perfect routine. Style, which varies from team to team and allows coaches to showcase their own teams talents. And finally, judges perception, probably the hardest aspect to prepare for. There is no telling how the judges felt about an individual routine until the scores are announced. As the the runners up were announced to be the Jaguars from Rock Canyon, all eyes were on Eaglecrest and Chaparral, as Grandview had a costly penalty that knocked them out of the top 3 finishers. And the CHSAA Class A State Champions for 2011 goes to….the Wolverines of Chaparral!
1 of 2 part series: Douglas County Reigns