It takes endurance, technical skills and consistency to deliver a championship poms routine. That's why ThunderRidge poms coach Ashley Harhigh was so confident. ThunderRidge, led by senior captains …
It takes endurance, technical skills and consistency to deliver a championship poms routine.
That's why ThunderRidge poms coach Ashley Harhigh was so confident.
ThunderRidge, led by senior captains Annabel Hiben and Maddie White, won the Classs 5A poms title at the State Spirit Championships, which were held Dec. 8-9 at the Denver Coliseum.
The Grizzlies, with a score of 94.2333, finished ahead of runner-up Grandview at 93.4833.
“It is a very athletic competition,” Harhigh said. “Judges definitely look for synchronization, how well the dancers are together as a unit, technical ability, creativity and quality.
“Consistency is something definitely in the heart of our sport and especially the repetition of it. You do it over and over for months. I will say this was the most consistent team I've ever coached. Yes, there may be days on or off but I never once coached this season when I didn't feel my team was capable of executing their routines to the best of their ability.”
Meanwhile, Valor Christian won a tiebreaker to capture the Eagles' second straight Class 4A cheer championship. Valor had a higher cheer score of 44.8 to Thompson Valley's 44.7 to give the Eagles the title.
“Winning a state championship is such an honor and huge blessing,” Valor cheerleading coach Kallyn Connor said. “All teams have a goal of winning but to actually do it is unexpected and exciting. We are so blessed to have seven amazing seniors who have led us this year.”
Valor saved the most proficient routine for last.
“I'm so proud of my team as they did their best routine of the season on the day of state,” Connor said. “We are so thrilled to bring Valor the first state championship of the year. Our cheer team has never gone back to back in state championships and after winning our first one last year we are so proud to do it again.”
In Class 5A, Harhigh, a ThunderRidge graduate, teacher and former Denver Broncos cheerleader, realized she was coaching a special team.
“It's the first time in our program history that we have won it,” she said. “It meant a lot for our girls. I'm an alum and been involved for the past 14 seasons. We're always in the running but we've never been able to capture it. I knew this team was special. We had a lot of experience and frankly they were tough. I knew all season they would be able to do it.”
ThunderRidge wrapped up the title with a stellar performance in the finals.
“That day when they got off the floor I thought we had won but we had to wait 2 1/2 hours before they announced the awards,” said Harhigh. “I always coached them that no matter how you feel when you get off the floor nobody can place a value on that. Win or lose, I felt we were a championship-caliber team.”