Steamboat Springs Cheerleading coach Summer McParland couldn’t have been happier after the Steamboat Springs Middle School cheerleading team put together a first-place performance last weekend at the Cheer Sport Denver Grand Championship at the First Bank Center in Broomfield.
But the reason for McParland's smile had less to do with the trophy and more to do with the improvement she had watched take place in the weeks leading up to the team’s biggest event of the season.
“The improvement was phenomenal,” McParland said. “This team placed third two weeks ago at the All-Star State Championships against these very same teams. The athletes on this team have worked so hard to get better, and it really showed in their performance last weekend.”
The Steamboat team earned first place in the Level 1 All-Star junior Division at the Denver event. Steamboat topped the Sapphire team from Ready, Set, Cheer, which took second, and the Silver team from Ready, Set Cheer, which took third. The Moffat County Thunder placed fourth, and Cheer Champs Cheerleading took fifth. Steamboat had placed behind a couple of these teams at an event two weeks ago.
McParland said the showing was a big boost for the middle school program she has watched grow the past couple of years. This year, the team that traveled to Denver included 13 girls and one boy. The middle school team has 18 members, but not all the athletes made the trip to Denver.
The event marked the end of the competitive season for the middle school team, but not the end of the season. The squad, along with two other All-Star teams, will demonstrate their talents at 2 p.m. May 22 during the Showcase of Stars at the Steamboat Springs Middle School. McParland said the event is a huge fundraiser for the local cheerleading squads and will be used to pay for scholarships, gym equipment and uniforms. The event is also a chance to showcase cheerleading to the community and raise awareness in the programs McParland offers at Steamboat’s All-Star Cheer & Dance. That program will hold tryouts the first week of May.
Two of her other team's also posted solid showings at the Cheer Sport Denver Grand Championship last weekend. The Steamboat All Stars placed third in the level 2 junior division, which was won by 3oh3 Elite.
The Steamboat All-Stars also placed fifth in the senior level 2 division, which included nine of the top teams from around the state. McParland said many of the athlete’s were disappointed with the showing — especially after the team placed second at the All-Star State Championship two week’s ago.
She said the team was distracted after one of the Steamboat girls was injured while warming up and needed medical attention. The team was able to regroup and compete as scheduled, but McParland thinks the injury and the time lost warming up had an impact.
The team will have a chance to get back on top April 3 when the squad heads to Denver, along with the junior team, for another competition.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966