‘Toughest kid I’ve ever coached’: Coal Ridge senior to cheer at Colorado Mesa University next season
Coal Ridge senior Haven Prodzinski is cheering her way into college.
With state-title plaques flanking both shoulders inside the Coal Ridge gym on Wednesday afternoon, Prodzinski signed on to cheer at Colorado Mesa University next season.
“It’s really cool I get to go to the second level,” Prodzinski said. “I’m glad I get to do that at the collegiate level.”
Prodzinski is the second Titan in one school year to sign on to cheer with a college program. Fellow teammate Jon Bolitho signed on in March to cheer for Western Colorado University.
That makes seven Titans to ink college contracts for cheer in the past five years.
Coal Ridge cheer itself has manufactured more state titles in the past five years than any other high school program in Garfield County. Led by head coach Alyssa Thurmon, Titans cheer has nabbed five 2A/3A co-ed Colorado state titles since 2016.
Prodzinski has won a state title every year she was with Coal Ridge High School cheer. Getting there meant Thurmon pushing the Titans to do better and better, Prodzinksi acknowledged.
“Probably this year at state when we got our fourth title in a row, that was really rewarding,” Prodzinski said. “It really felt good.”
Thurmon said her star pupil is “probably the toughest kid I’ve ever coached.”
“(Prodzinski) never sat out because of an injury. She always pushed through,” she said. “I would have to make her sit out sometimes because she would just push through it and hurt herself worse.”
Thurmon also said Prodzinski is a hard worker in the classroom. The Coal Ridge senior, set to study political justice and political science at CMU, currently boasts a cumulative 4.1 grade point average.
“She’s going to be successful no matter what she does,” Thurmon said. “As a college cheerleader, I would say she’s just going to take that into the college program and push through and probably be one of their strongest athletes.”
Showing up to cheer her daughter’s big day Wednesday was Prodzinksi’s mother, Elizeth Rodriguez. Just after her daughter signed the papers, Rodriguez battled the tears.
Rodriguez said Prodzinski is her oldest daughter, and that her fondest memory of her throughout the years was traveling with her everywhere she went for cheer.
“Those were the best memories,” she said. “I’m glad I get to do it still after high school.”
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com.
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