‘Kats, ‘Pups both place at Grand Junction competition
November 19, 2001
By ELWOOD K. SHELTON
Daily Press writer
For the past two weeks, the Craig Wildkats have been searching for something a national qualification.
Last Saturday they found one. The Wildkats earned a berth to the National Cheer Association (NCA), after placing first at the NCA’s competition at Mesa State in Grand Junction.
It is highly doubtful the Wildkats will travel to the competition, instead they will use the video of their performance to qualify for the Jamz competition in Las Vegas in February.
“The two competitions we went to, Denver Nov. 10 and Grand Junction last Saturday, were mainly so we could make a video tape,” coach Dawn Rader said. “It’s just that the national competition for the NCA is so far away that it would cost too much for the parents.”
The Nov. 10 competition in Denver was the first major competition the Wildkats went to looking for a qualification, but didn’t do as well as they had hoped. Both the Wildkats and the Wildkittens ended up in second place.
The Wildkittens is the youth program for the Wildkats, and is reserved for children four-grade and down.
The Wildkats had actually fared better last season at their qualification competitions, placing first at Northglenn and at Grand Junction.
Rader doesn’t quite understand why the girls didn’t fare better at Denver earlier this year, other than a section of the squad was fighting sickness, and the performance was flatter than usual.
“We may have a smaller team than in years past, but not one of the Wildkats dropped any of their stunts,” Rader said. “And right now, we’ve got a lot of experience.”
Making their debut for the first time ever at a competition were the Craig Middle School Bullpups. The Bullpups headed to Grand Junction just for the experience, and didn’t expect more than that, but came home with a second place overall.
“It was impressive to see the girls do as well as they did. They were comparable to all the other teams there, which is the impressive part, because there were some good teams at Grand Junction,” coach Renee Chason said.
The middle school cheer program’s second place at the Grand Junction competition is a major twist of fate for them, last spring the program was on the school’s chopping block.
With school moral low, and little interest in the cheer program, the end was near. But Chason believed the program to be beneficial at the middle school level, and sought the help of parents to fight to keep the program alive.
“Really it’s been the parents who’ve made cheerleading possible at Craig Middle School,” she said. “We receive no funds from the school, so all the money we need we have to raise.”
The program was not only kept afloat by fund-raisers, but also by two generous donations by parents one for $1,700 and another for $500. The money was used to buy new uniforms.
The program has not only done well for itself, but the school it represents. Since its revival this year, the cheer program has been met with great fanfare by the student body of the middle school.
“After the girls perform at school, all the students are there to congratulate them,” Chason said. “And it’s not only them, but other teams and parents that have commented on the girls and the program, as well.”