TELLURIDE – Dressed all in black, the troupe of 16 stands in formation, poised to spring into action. A beat blares over the loudspeaker, and with it the cluster of girls explodes onto the gymnasium floor, a blizzard of tumbling bodies and bouncing ponytails.
Focusing on just one part of this avalanche of action proves dizzying, since back-handsprings, dance steps and gravity defying stunts come at you faster than you can say “Go Miners!” Girls sprint and tumble across the floor. Girls are thrown, spinning, into the air. It’s Miner spirit at its most electric, and if you’ve never witnessed THS cheerleading before, you haven’t fully experienced high school cheerleading.
The THS cheerleading squad unveiled their performance routine to the community last Saturday evening, a routine that promises to once again catapult the Miners into the upper echelons of Colorado high school cheerleading. In the coming weeks, THS’s cheerleading squad will defend its 2006 and 2007 2A State Championship titles. The team travels to Grand Junction this Saturday for Regionals, followed by the 2A State Championships in Denver on Dec. 6.
The bold new routine is, quite possibly, the most awesome routine this squad has attempted in its rather brief history. It’s also the most difficult, incorporating such high level maneuvers as full twisting basket tosses, double twisting rotations on their cradle catches and exclusively single-leg stunts. All those moves add up to an incredibly difficult routine, and a very entertaining show for spectators.
“The girls have really stepped it up this year,” said THS cheer coach Liza Digiglio-Huet, who explained that this year’s routine boasts stunts more commonly seen performed by 5A schools. Digiglio-Huet added that the girls have also upped the ante with their tumbling, thanks to focused training with Telluride Gymnastics instructor Teresa Brachle.
Senior cheer captains Madison Ward and Natalie Brown and junior captain Chancee Forestier played major roles in choreographing the routine. With 10 returning members and six new members, the 2008-09 squad is the biggest team yet. And the girls will likely face the toughest competition they’ve seen, with regional rivals Denver-Christian, Grand Valley and Dove Creek looking to unseat the reigning champions. As the team to beat, the Miners have responded with intense practices five days a week and renewed determination to improve their skills.
“The girls went into the season thinking about what they could do better this year, and how they can take things to the next level,” Digiglio-Huet said. The team has been practicing since August under the tutelage of Brachle, Digiglio-Huet and Katie Kennedy. Telluride will be going after its third 2A Championship title in a row this Saturday in Grand Junction, and depending on how they rank at the State event in Denver on Dec. 6, could win a bid to go to the Cheerleading Nationals later in the winter.