Months of hard work and dedication paid off in a big way for spirit squads from across the Cherry Creek School District at the 2016 National Dance Team Championships, held January 29-31, and the 2016 National Cheer Championships, held Feb. 6-7. Both competitions were held in Orlando, Florida. Pom and cheer teams from Cherokee Trail, Cherry Creek, Eaglecrest and Grandview high schools brought home awards and accolades from these prestigious national competitions.
The Cherry Creek High School Pom Squad had an unbeaten record going into nationals. They took first place at every local competition this season and won the Colorado State Championships in December. At nationals, Creek placed first in the preliminary round and went straight to finals. Grandview made it to finals via the semifinal round. In one of the competition’s most dramatic moments, Grandview edged Creek in the finals, placing second overall, followed by Creek in third place, an impressive finish for both groups after competing with 46 of the best pom teams from across the country.
“I am so proud of the accomplishments of our team,” said GHS poms coach Megan Mehl. “They are a very unified group who never gave up on each other or their determination to grow and improve.”
“Each and every girl has put their heart and soul into this family and their drive and passion is what has led us to success,” said CCHS poms coach Faymie Westmoreland. “They would do absolutely anything for one another and you can see that every time they hit the floor to perform.”
The CCSD pom squads also competed in the tough Jazz division with 48 top teams from across the country. All made the top ten in that category, with Creek placing sixth, Cherokee Trail placing seventh and Grandview placing ninth.
“This season’s theme was "change" and we definitely made that happen,” said CTHS poms coach Mia Brown. “This was our first time making it past prelims, so our team was elated when they were given another opportunity to dance and even more thrilled when we made it into finals. After missing finals at our state competition, nationals was a wonderful end to the season.”
The Eaglecrest poms will compete in a national competition at the end of February.
In the 2016 National Cheer Championships, Grandview placed 5th and Cherry Creek placed 17th in the Large Varsity Division 1.
“Grandview Cheerleading had not made the final round in the national championships in over seven years,” said GHS cheer coach Christina Maccarone. “We made it our goal at the beginning of the season to just make finals. Our team worked all year to reach this goal, so placing in the top five totally exceeded our expectations!”
Eaglecrest, the Colorado 5A Cheer Champions, placed 16th in the Medium Varsity Division 1, making finals for the third year in a row.
Cheer and pom are both considered sports and are sanctioned through the Colorado High School Activities Association. Larry Bull, director of athletics and activities for Cherry Creek Schools, says the level of athleticism and excellence exhibited by the district’s spirit squads is impressive.
“The spirit squad members train just as hard and are just as competitive as athletes in any other sport. In addition, they have the added pressure of only two or three minutes to deliver a winning performance, instead of a whole game,” Bull said. “We are proud of the skill and dedication they demonstrate and the contributions they make to school spirit across the district.”