Coal Ridge senior signs on to cheer with Western Colorado University |

Coal Ridge senior signs on to cheer with Western Colorado University

Coal Ridge High School senior Jon Bolitho smiles after signing a letter of intent to cheer for Western Colorado University on Tuesday.
Submitted / Ben Kirk

Coal Ridge senior Jon Bolitho is a multi-sport athlete at Coal Ridge High School. He did football, baseball, wrestling and is preparing for track and field this spring.

The 19-year-old also decided to take up cheer his senior year, and on Tuesday he just signed a letter of intent to cheer on a scholarship for Western Colorado University, Gunnison.

“It feels amazing, that’s for sure,” Bolitho said after his signing event. “I would have never thought me, out of all people, would be signing a scholarship to a sport. It’s like the best thing in the world.”

Bolitho joined a Coal Ridge cheer team that has done nothing but dominate the 2A/3A co-ed circuit in Colorado. Under coach Alyssa Thurman’s tutelage, the Titans have won five state titles since 2016.

Now, with the addition of Bolitho, Titans cheer has three athletes in the past two years to sign on for college scholarships.

“I just put my feet on the ground and worked my butt off, because this was something that seemed really cool to me,” Bolitho said. “I really wanted to do it, so I worked super, super hard for it.”

At first, Bolitho wanted to join the military because it was something that truly inspired him, he said.

“I was just planning on that,” he said. “Then, all of a sudden, I joined cheer and colleges started noticing my talent and seeing what I could do.”

Looking back at the one season Bolitho was in cheer, the national competition comes to his mind.

Though Coal Ridge had a good chance to win the national competition, an off-mat controversy disqualified some Titans athletes, forcing a last-minute reconfiguration.

Despite the adversity, the Titans still placed seventh overall in the entire nation.

“We adapted to it, and we learned from it,” Bolitho said. “And we came out seventh at nationals.”

Now, looking toward the future, Bolitho said he’s grateful for the opportunity.

“It just shows that hard work really does pay off,” he said. “It just goes to every generation. I feel like if you work really hard for something, results will definitely pay off.”

With a passion for helping kids and the weight room, Bolitho said he plans to study strength and conditioning at Western Colorado.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.