GSPI writer feted by CHSAA
GSPI Sports Editor
It wasn’t just the state champion Glenwood Springs High School spirit squad that came back to town with some hardware after last weekend’s state championship.
Phil Sandoval, assistant sports editor for the Post Independent, also came home with a trophy. Sandoval was honored by the Colorado High School Activities Association as a “Special Contributor” for his work in covering the Colorado State Spirit Championships for the past decade.
Sandoval, who has covered every State Spirit Championships since he moved to the Western Slope in 1993, was presented with the award by CHSAA commissioner Bill Reader and assistant commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green during a break in the action Saturday evening at the Denver Coliseum.
“The best part of the ceremony was getting a standing ovation from Glenwood’s cheer squad,” Sandoval said. “That really touched my heart. To do that for me, when they were in the middle of competing for a state championship, made the presentation very, very special.”
Along with covering cheerleading as a writer, Sandoval has been involved in the sport for over 30 years. He started as an athlete at Los Angeles Westchester High School and was also a member of the Santa Monica College spirit squad.
He has coached cheer squads for the past 25 years, including head coaching stints at Westchester, Lakewood Artesia (Calif.) High School and Glenwood Springs Middle School. Six of his former students have become cheer instructors for the United Spirit Association and other students have moved on to cheer for Division I colleges like UCLA, Cal State University and the NFL’s Los Angeles Raiders.
Sandoval also helped form youth cheerleading programs for the Glenwood Springs and Rifle recreation department and the Three Rivers Youth Football Association.
He is currently the director of the Grand Mesa Elite All-Star Cheerleaders in Grand Junction. His junior and youth teams both qualified for Cheerleaders of America national competition to be held in April and the youth team also earned a bid to the United Spirit Association’s All-Star Nationals to be held in February.
“It’s the athletes and the editors at the Post Independent who put me in the position to receive this award,” Sandoval said. “They are the ones who deserve the credit, not me. I’m thankful to them for giving me the opportunity to cover (cheerleading) on a regular basis.”
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Rifle High School wrestling won its matchup with Glenwood Springs Tuesday at the Glenwood triangular, while the Palisade Bulldogs took down both local teams.