The Glenwood Springs High School cheerleaders competed at their first UCA National High School Cheerleading Championships in Florida Feb. 9, taking 16th place overall in the Medium Varsity Non-Tumbling division.
This was the first time that the GSHS cheerleaders made it to finals at UCA nationals, which is considered the nation's most prestigious cheerleading competition, according to GSHS coach Jody Jordan.
Glenwood's team of 20 girls competed Feb. 9 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Indiana Jones Theater in preliminaries.
"The girls performed their 21⁄2-minute routine with only one little bobble and then had to wait patiently for the finals announcement," Jordan said.
The Glenwood squad was called among 16 teams for finals, but that number was eventually expanded to 21 for the next day's final round.
After a rough warm-up, Jordan said the girls went out and nailed their routine.
"Every stunt hit, and we were so proud of them," Jordan said of she and co-coach Kate Hatch. "We always tell them, if you go out there and do your very best, no matter what place you get you are a winner, and you can leave the competition feeling like you accomplished your goals."
The team practiced for nine months, including their usual cheering duties at the Demons' home football and basketball games, and earning a bid to nationals after placing first at regionals in Pueblo earlier this year.
The Glenwood cheer team will try out in April for a chance to qualify again for the 2014 nationals.
Team members include seniors Rachel High, Edna Parra, Rebecca Gabriel, Corinne Passey; juniors Courtney Olson, Erin Fangman, Hanna Elwell, Libby Bierbaum, Kim Mueller, Leah Crawford; sophomores Natasha Jordan, Hunter Harbottle, Maria Garcia, Valarie Flores, Dasha Stowe, Nayeli Perez, Becca Cowling, Kira Willis; and freshmen Katie Bianco, McKenzie Hill, Audrey Jones, Lillie Harden and Kaycelynn Cudo.
Numerous local business sponsors and private donors helped to pay for a portion of the team's travel expenses.