Enthusiasm is high and the Moffat County High School varsity cheerleading team is ready to dance and cheer to a strong showing at the seventh annual Colorado High School Activities Association State Spirit Championship Friday and Saturday at the University of Denver Ritchie Center.
"We have 20 cheerleaders on the team and six of them are guys," said Bulldogs coach Kamisha Begay. "The guys are a great asset to the program. They bring a whole new aspect of what we can do, all the different stunts, and they just have a little bit more strength."
Team members who will make the trip to Denver are Ben Vikse, Josh White, Javier Ochoa, Zach Bergstrom, John Buckley, Dylan Schopper, Nidia Martinez, Melissa Winslow, Marlene Smith and Misty Swanson.
"The girls just convinced one guy and it just kind of had a snowball effect," said Begay. "We will have six guys for basketball and seven of them will be going to state."
"I wanted to come out for cheerleading because it was something different to do," said Ochoa, who was the first boy to come out for the team. "It's fun being on the team and it's not every day where you get to do stunts with girls. We are really exciting about going to state and it will be really cool."
Begay believes the Bulldogs will hold their own at state.
"This isn't our first year going to state," said Begay. "We didn't go last year because the cheerleaders decided about a week before competition not to go. It's very excited to be going again and we like our chances with the routine that we are doing."
MCHS will take more boys than girls.
"This is the first year that I have been coaching that we will take a coed squad," said Begay. "The unusual thing about our squad is that we will have more boys than girls and we will stand out even though there is just 11 of us."
With all five classifications attending, nowhere in high school sports will the spirit and positive enthusiasm that marks prep athletics be more apparent than at this event. More than 2,500 students make up the nearly 160 competing squads.
"This event is filled with undying enthusiasm," said CHSAA Commissioner Bob Ottewill. "Each team helps the others with their cheers and performances. You cannot help but get enthused and excited. They are a special feature of high school activities."
According to Begay, the Bulldogs have been training for state competition for the last month.
"We have been working really hard," said Begay. "We have had 6 a.m. morning practices and after school. They have been putting in a lot of time."
Each cheerleading squad will have 2 1/2 minutes to demonstrate its cheerleading style and expertise.
"We start out with about 15 seconds of stunting," said Begay. "Then we go into our cheer and then we go into our musical section."