Front row from left: Monika Baron (Dance), Delina Miller (Cheer), Danielle Brockman (C); middle row, from left: Katy Nottingham (D), Taelor Stagner (D) and Connie Le (D); back row, from left: Chandra Griffin (C), Jerica Sullivan (C), Jordan Porter (C) and Jasmine Higgins (C). Not pictured: Lizette Lopez (D), Zaide Duarte (D), Clara Tomlin (C), Patience Terry (D) and Tawni Brenner (D).
(D) - dance team, (C) - cheer team

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Front row from left: Monika Baron (Dance), Delina Miller (Cheer), Danielle Brockman (C); middle row, from left: Katy Nottingham (D), Taelor Stagner (D) and Connie Le (D); back row, from left: Chandra Griffin (C), Jerica Sullivan (C), Jordan Porter (C) and Jasmine Higgins (C). Not pictured: Lizette Lopez (D), Zaide Duarte (D), Clara Tomlin (C), Patience Terry (D) and Tawni Brenner (D). (D) - dance team, (C) - cheer team

Bringing alive the school spirit

Cheer/dance teams out to pump up fans

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At a glance

Cheerleaders/dancer to watch

Taelor Stagner (junior) - Coach Anngie Sparks said Stagner - a third-year varsity dance team member - has great leadership and that her personality and enthusiasm draw the crowd in.

Jasmine Higgins (junior) - Higgins is a three-year varsity cheerleader who Sparks said works hard and is dedicated to her craft.

Dates to circle

Sept. 5 - Home opener for both teams, which will perform a combined act they've worked on all summer.

Oct. 10 - MCHS homecoming football game. Sparks said homecoming is always a big event for the cheer and dance teams, and it's the time when the teams break out their most difficult routines.

Team Information

League: Western Slope League (WSL) Class 4A

Coaches: Anngie Sparks (dance), Naomi Villard (cheer)

Sparks with the Bulldogs: fifth year

Villard with the Bulldogs: first year

Team members lost: five - two dance, three cheer

Team members added: six - two dance, four cheer

— Good things come in small packages.

At least that's what Anngie Sparks and Naomi Villard are hoping for this fall sports season.

Sparks and Villard are working with small numbers this season on each of their respective teams.

Sparks' Bulldogs dance team has six members, and Villard has nine cheerleaders.

But, the Moffat County "spirit" team - named by Sparks - has high expectations this year.

"Every year, because you have new girls on your team, you're rebuilding," Sparks said. "But, I think we are going to have a good season. The girls that have come back are experienced, they're excited, and they learned a lot of new material at camp."

The teams competed in a private camp this year, and Sparks said it provided the coaches more one-on-one time.

"It's less intimidating than going up against the bigger teams from the bigger cities," she said. "We focused on what our needs are instead of wondering what the large teams were doing."

Villard relocated from Hatch Valley, N.M., where she was part of a small team, so taking over a cheerleading squad with fewer than 10 members is nothing new.

"A small team is average for me," Villard said. "It really doesn't matter what size of a team you have, it just matters the level of devotion that they have."

Sparks has pledged more difficult routines for her team this year.

"We aren't going to perform anything easier than a three this year," Sparks said of performances, which are scaled from a one to a five. "In the past, we've been in the mid-twos. Not this year. We are gearing up our routines."

Both coaches laughed when asked whether the sports of dancing and cheerleading were as difficult as the other MCHS sports.

"There aren't any sissies on this team," Sparks said. "We work just as hard as the football team, the soccer team and cross country."

Villard agreed.

"These girls are very competitive," she said. "It takes a lot of endurance to do what we do."

The coaches hammered home their main goal.

"We want to put more school spirit into the whole school's daily routine," Villard said.

"Our main goal is to help the crowd involved in every sport," Sparks said. "Each team, cheer and dance, has the same purpose. And that is about bringing alive the school's spirit."

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