The Steamboat Springs High School cheerleading squad leaps through its routine Wednesday during a final practice before it headed to Orlando, Florida for a nationals competition.

The Steamboat Springs High School cheerleading squad leaps through its routine Wednesday during a final practice before it headed to Orlando, Florida for a nationals competition. Photo by Joel Reichenberger. |

Sailors cheerleaders eager for Florida

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— The leaders of the Steamboat Springs High School cheerleading squad readily admit it hasn’t exactly been an easy year.

The team has lost five cheerleaders to injuries.

There was a broken foot, a sprained back and three concussions. Even Wednesday night, as the team worked through it’s National Championships routine one last time in Steamboat Springs, one athlete had to step away when she sustained a bloody nose.

Cheerleading’s not for the meek, but the team still said it’s all been worth it.

It left Friday morning to compete in the National Championships at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

“It’s really exciting,” said team co-captain Reagan Mertz, a senior. “We’ve been working toward this since freshman year.”

Those injuries and the team’s overall small size have been complicating factors in a routine that originally took two days to design. Despite numerous revisions, however, the team has stood out amongst its competition.

“At regionals, we ended up getting second place, even though everyone else had three or four stunt groups and we just had our two,” Mertz said.

The squad will be up against 43 other teams from similarly sized schools when it arrives in Florida, and the top 14 teams will advance to finals. The competition will be telecast on ESPN.

It will be Steamboat’s first trip to the event since 2013.

“This is a team that’s had the most amount of talent the high school has seen in a long time,” senior co-captain Kelsey Spognardi said. “Especially considering we have a smaller team this year, we’ve done really well.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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