Spring is an exciting time of the year for Suzy Lord a time when she glimpses the future of Moffat County High School cheerleading.
The high school cheerleading coach has much to be excited about with this year's group of potential spirit leaders because 26 students showed up for the week of practice preceding Monday's tryouts.
She said she is thrilled because so far only four girls have dropped out, making for one of the largest and most dedicated groups of cheerleaders she's auditioned in her three-year stint with the program.
"We lost only four seniors from this year's squad and we've added 14 eighth graders," she said. "The girls who are showing up all seem dedicated to the program and all have experience or the talent to execute the stunts."
Not only is the high school building on its cheerleading program but it is also expanding its horizon to dance.
Lord said she has shied away from forming a dance squad in the past, fearing it would detract from the cheer program but demand by the students changed her mind. The opportunity to specialize was also a factor that hastened the expansion.
"I was worried if we had a dance team we wouldn't get the kids we need for cheer," she said.
In years past the cheerleaders have pulled double-duty as spirit squad and dance team, which has caused problems. The cheerleaders ended up practicing dance routines for much of the week, neglecting what they joined the team for cheering.
Now each squad will work and perform in its specific area.
The Moffat County cheerleaders with 14 eighth graders participating in tryouts will have a passel of new faces spreading spirit at next year's athletic events .
It is the biggest group of pre-freshmen Lord has had join the program and much has to do with a renewed interest in the sport at the middle school level.
The influx of younger cheerleaders has the team aspiring to surpass this year's accomplishments. The team finished fifth at state in the fall and looks for more success when the autumn of 2002 rolls around.
"With the girls we're getting from the middle school plus the girls we already have we should be good next year," junior Maggie Rugh said.