Demon cheerleaders take aim at Nationals |

Demon cheerleaders take aim at Nationals

Athletes normally go to Disney World to celebrate winning a championship, not to earn one.

The Glenwood Springs High School cheerleaders want to squeeze in some fun under the sun when they travel to Orlando, Fla., this weekend. But they have some business to attend to first.

It’s the fourth time in as many years Glenwood has qualified to compete at the National High School Cheerleading Championships. What energizes the Demon cheerleaders is the squad, which unlike the past two years, enters the 2004 competition injury-free.

Jody Jordan, who coaches Glenwood’s cheer team with Lynn Goluba and Kim Richardson, looks at that as a good sign.

“We have some little bumps and dings, but nothing major,” said Jordan.

Glenwood is one of 52 cheer teams that hopes to advance from Saturday’s preliminary round to reach Sunday’s ESPN tape-delayed televised finals.

The divisional setup at the Universal Cheerleader Association-sponsored competition differs from December’s Colorado High School Activities Association’s Spirit Championship, where the Demon cheerleaders won their second consecutive Class 4A title.

Rather than being categorized by school enrollment, divisions are determined by the number of team members on a squad.

Glenwood has 21 cheerleaders on their competitive squad. That number puts the Demons in the Varsity medium all-girl division.

And, most of the teams entered in the division are talented and competition-tested.

Heading the list of returnees is Collierville, Tenn., last year’s national champion. Another cheerleading powerhouse, Greenup County, Ky., is among the pre-competition favorites for the title.

Greenup brings an impressive resume to the performance mats.

In the 20 years Nationals have been contested, Greenup County has won 12 National titles, including the 2003 large school division crowns.

Three other 2003 medium-school finalists ” Oviedo (Fla.) Easton Area (Pa.) and Bolton (Alexandria, La.) high schools ” return this year.

Glenwood is one of five Colorado high schools earning a berth in Orlando. The Demons and Niwot are the only Class 4A teams competing. Denver-area schools Smoky Hill, a 2003 semifinalist, Standley Lake and Cherry Creek are Class 5A.

Cheer teams qualify by obtaining a score of 85 percent or higher at Universal Cheerleader Association-sanctioned state and regional competitions, or in Glenwood’s case, submitting a video tape of their competition routine to UCA’s headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., for consideration.

The Demon cheerleaders were scheduled to compete at November’s Rocky Mountain Regional in Denver but couldn’t make the trip due to poor road conditions.

Teams with high enough scores in the preliminaries advance to Sunday morning’s division semifinals. The top 12 scoring teams move on to that evening’s finals.

“Our goal is to get to the semifinals,” Demon senior Shandra Kight said. “We’re going to go down and do our best. And as long as we do our best we don’t care where we finish.”

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