Make some noise for Moffat County’s new cheer coach |

Make some noise for Moffat County’s new cheer coach

Stacey Ortega plans for expanded, more physical spirit squad

Stacey Ortega, right, holds onto daughter Maya's pom-poms as she shows off her flexibility in the second floor commons of Moffat County High School. Stacey was recently hired by the school as the coach for the cheerleading team, and Maya, an incoming sophomore, will be among the athletes on the squad.

They've got spirit, yes, they do! How about you?

Stacey Ortega was recently hired as the new cheerleading coach for Moffat County High School. Having cheered herself, as well as coached for teams aged middle school through college, she said the position seemed like for a great fit for someone like her, new to town and hoping to get involved.

"I wasn't planning on this, but I'm loving it, working with these girls," she said.

Stacey first heard about the cheer position being open when she inquired last week about the team on behalf of her daughter, Maya, who will be a sophomore at MCHS this fall.

Everything just fell together after that, said MCHS Athletics and Activities Director Mike Mitchell.

"She has great experience, great energy, and her practice schedule is probably what got me the most interested," he said. "She puts in more two-a-days than the football team."

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Stacey, her husband and their seven combined children first moved to the area about three months ago.

"It's so beautiful here, I love all the wildlife, we don't see that where I'm from," she said.

Stacey has previously overseen spirit teams at Robertson High School and New Mexico Highlands University, both in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

While daughter Maya has not done much cheering, she has a great deal of gymnastics training she hopes to bring to the sport.

"I like the stunting," Maya said.

Stacey added she plans to make the cheer program a well-rounded physical endeavor, including dance, tumbling and stunts, providing she gets enough participation. Focusing on choreography, chants and simpler elements can lead to handsprings and similar moves, working their way up to more complex tasks like pyramids or basket tosses.

"We're working with the basics right now, but I'd definitely love to see some of that," she said. "Technique is really important."

Noting the strength-training and other preparation participants have already undergone since his newest coach began, Mitchell said he liked the idea of cheer encompassing competitive edge and athleticism.

"I love that attitude," he said. "She really wants to make this a year-round thing, and that's the best thing of all."

The new coach has already hosted tryouts to retain talent from last year for home football games this week and next and hopes to host a bigger event in September to get even more interest in the team. Additionally, there are plans to employ the cheerleaders at more sports than they've been used in the past.

In addition to football this fall, the group will be supporting squads like soccer and volleyball at their events.

"We're going to try and cheer for every team we can, except golf might be a little tough," she laughed.

Mitchell agreed that bringing enthusiasm to every sport is a must.

"We really want all the teams to know how much we appreciate them," he said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

If you go

Moffat County High School cheer tryouts

3 p.m. Sept. 11

MCHS, 900 Finley Lane

— High school athletes of all skill levels are invited to try out. A clinic will be available after school from 3:50 to 6:50 Sept. 7 to 10. A parent meeting will be offered at 3 p.m. Sept. 4 in the MCHS cafeteria. For more information, call 970-824-7036.