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Cheer squad goes to Nationals

Post Independent/Kara K. PearsonGlenwood Springs High School cheerleaders perform a stunt during their halftime show Saturday.
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Dedication and a commitment has formed a bond among the Glenwood Springs cheerleaders that they’ve used as a foundation to a successful competitive season.It’s this bond, and their collective ability, that’s earned the Demon cheerleaders a trip to this weekend’s National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Fla. The 20 girls on the squad start competition in the 58-team medium, all-girl varsity division Saturday at Disney World.”I think the bond helps out a lot,” said Hannah Greenstreet, one of the squad’s two captains. “When you’re doing something with someone you care about and you know they care about you, its more motivating. You don’t just want to do it for yourself and progress for yourself – you want to do it for the team, progress as a team and become a unit. This bond creates perfection.”Carolyn Wiltse, the team’s other captain, said the bond helps the squad’s work ethic.”It drives us to work harder,” she said. “As a team, we always think that we can go farther. We set goals and then once we reach them, we’ll set more to go above and beyond them. The bond helps that because we’ll all be there together. When we accomplish (a goal) as a team, it makes us all feel very good.”Glenwood has become one of Colorado’s elite competitive cheerleading programs.This marks the fifth time in as many years the Demon cheerleaders have earned a bid to the national competition. Berths are earned with finishes of third place or higher at regional events held earlier in the year.Glenwood is one of just six Colorado teams, and the only Western Slope team, receiving bids this year.Two Colorado squads, Eaglecrest and Cherry Creek, have larger enrollment that Glenwood but compete in the same division as the Demons.Three others – Mullen, Lakewood-Bear Creek and Highlands Ranch-ThunderRidge – compete in the large varsity division.Team divisions for all levels of competition to Nationals are determined by the size of the squad, rather than a school’s total student enrollment.While the ultimate prize is reaching Sunday’s finals, both Glenwood captains said the team’s goal is to perform their best.”It’s not being super competitive against other teams,” said Greenstreet. “It’s more about us doing the best that we ever have at Nationals. “Our goal is to make semifinals, stick the routine strong and look at becoming more competitive. Right now, we have to focus on making semifinals before looking at other teams.””We only have control of what we do,” Wiltse added. “We can only do what we do. We can’t control what every other team can do because they’ve been working just as hard as we have.”Team unity makes the hard work at practice a lot easier, said Wiltse, who is a senior.”We are a family right now, but once you go to Nationals, we all become so tight because you’re with everyone (on the team) all the time,” she said. “It means a lot because you’re traveling with 20 of your best friends,” Greenstreet said. “Whether you want to admit it or not, they are your best friends because you spend 20 hours a week together.”Greenstreet said the unfamiliar environment in Florida can be “very intimidating.” “(Nationals) is so much bigger than state,” said Wiltse.Despite the unusual surroundings, the co-captains both know when the squad’s done well.”You can sense the energy,” Greenstreet said. “You can tell whether something drops or whether the dance is tight or how the team vibe is going.””You know you’ve done (the routine) just like you can do – you’ve put up everything. Nothing has fallen. That’s how I know I feel good,” Wiltse added.The hardest part for the two seniors is knowing this is the final time this squad will compete together.”Carolyn and I are so excited. We want to have fun and soak it all in and really cherish this last time together,” said Greenstreet. “You’re almost in denial because you don’t realize it. Knowing that it’s coming to an end is almost unbelievable. You know it’s coming, but you don’t know until it’s gone because it’s such a part of you. To have that be taken away – it’s like losing a part of yourself.””For this to be my last time, then leave the (underclassmen), it makes me really sad,” Wiltse said. “Especially the freshmen. I see so much potential in them. They’re such sweethearts I don’t want to leave them, but you have to move on. That kind of hurts.”Still, traveling to Orlando and vying for a national title is a great way to conclude a prep career.”We’re going to this magical kingdom. And we’re going to the greatest place on earth with the greatest people in our lives,” Greenstreet said. “And we’re creating this magical experience – that is the best way to finish the season.”


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