Wrapping it up | CraigDailyPress.com

Wrapping it up

Moffat County dance and cheer teams end season at state

John Vandelinder

— When training camps for girls volleyball, boys soccer and the football teams began in August, the dance and cheer teams were right beside them, sweating it out in preparation for the upcoming season.

They spent more than 20 hours practicing each week, all of it for the chance to perform in front of a crowd for less than five minutes every two weeks.

On Saturday, after months of preparation, the stage was theirs.

“The girls did absolutely wonderful,” cheer coach Erin Knez said. “The team did better than I hoped.”

The Bulldog dance team placed 20th, and the cheer team was 22nd in each team’s season-culminating event in Denver.

“It was a little overwhelming,” the first-year coach said. “But I was excited to see them perform and show everybody what they can do.”

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Dance coach Anngie Sparks made her fourth trip to state, and said she wasn’t as nervous.

“Erin did well. Her nerves didn’t really kick in until she hit the coaches box,” Sparks said. “We are both very happy with our girls. We had a great time.”

Sparks fielded the smallest dance team in Moffat County history with six members. The low numbers came back to bite the Bulldogs in the finals, as bigger teams were able to pull off more technical routines.

“We were the smallest team there by far,” Sparks said. “It’s more difficult to choreograph with six girls. It makes a difference.”

The cheer team – which was reduced through the season from 16 to eight girls – ran into the same problem. Teams with larger numbers had the ability to pull off more difficult stunts, which provided higher scores.

“We were smaller than 95 percent of the schools that competed,” Knez said. “We have to step it up a level next year. State is way harder than I thought.”

The teams will now dance and cheer for the home team at basketball games, taking time away from competition. A long season is now over, the stress from months of preparation placed on the back burner until next December.

“The girls showed a lot of growth from the first football game until now,” Sparks said. “You can’t be disappointed with that.”

Knez was proud her team went penalty-free when it meant the most, but she’s happy to have it behind her now.

“It’s a big relief that it’s all over,” she said. “It’s the most stressful thing these girls do all year. It’s nice to have it done.”