Lovell Cheer wins state title

Ryan Fitzmaurice
The Lovell High School cheerleaders are the top squad in the state. 

Competing last week in Casper, the Lovell cheerleading team topped the 2A Game Day competition in a field of eight competing schools. 

It was dead-close. Lovell topped the pack with a score of 76.650, while Big Piney claimed second with a score of 76.200 during the March 8 competition. 

The Game Day competition is designed to replicate the cheers a team would perform at a football game, head coach Nicole Hendershot said, with the team performing a band dance, a sideline football offense cheer and finally a crowd cheer with the final component being the school fight song. 

Unlike other state competitions, such as basketball or wrestling, where competitors will hit the court or mat multiple times, cheerleaders only get one shot to impress, and it only lasts for three minutes.

“It’s a lot of pressure,” Hendershot said. “Our girls really came together and pushed so hard. When they finished their routine, I could not have been happier with what they put out on the floor.”

Hendershot said the key to the team’s success was a high-energy performance that impressed the judges. 

“We’re scored on our motions, our sharpness, our ability to engage the crowd. That’s a huge part of it, getting the crowd to respond to what we do and just putting on a great routine,” Hendershot said. “We used a band song called ‘Bang, Bang.’ It was the perfect song; we really did come out with a bang. We focused on our school colors in that song and in our cheer and getting the crowd to respond to our school colors. And we have a great fight song, we really do.
It really just lends itself to high energy.” 

The team was also required to include stunts, and Hendershot said that is where the team especially shone.

“Our girls put up their stunts with precision,” Hendershot said.
“We had zero deductions for our team. Our girls were flawless in that area.” 

Twelve students competed in the state competition: Seniors Matalyn Leithead, Cadence Gruell, Eliza Tyer, Maddie Felkins, Anessa Luna, Alex Walker and Zhewel Christenson, juniors Katie Jones and Ada Buchholz, sophomores Whitney Hendershot and Breege Wagner and freshman
Ella Spanier.

Rocky Mountain Cheer

The Rocky Mountain High School cheerleading team took fourth in the state competition, earning a score of 73.850, behind Cokeville’s third place score of 75.750. 

On the team are seniors Staysha Herren, Azurdey Burton and Zoey Davison, juniors Kaitlyn Christensen, Gwynff Bodtke, Katelynne Herren, Kassidy Brimhall and Ashley Pizana, sophomores Rebecca Herren and Tess Mercat and freshman Emma Collins. 

The dance the team performed in the competition was choreographed by Tianne Samson, before performing a crowd cheer and leading the crowd in the school fight song. 

Head coach Keesha Herren said she was very pleased by her team’s performance.

“The girls did great. They improved their score from last year by more then  10 points. I am very proud of them and all their hard work,” Herren said. “I am excited to see what next year will bring.”

In last year’s competition, the team scored 66.2 points on their performance, which netted them a third-place result.

Herren coaches the team with assistant coach Taleesha Herren. 

Lovell Dance

Lovell Dance just missed the chance to bring hardware home from the state competition last week, placing fourth behind Worland, Green River and Evanston in the 3A Hip Hop dance competition. 

“I was very pleased with how well the team handled everything. They stayed positive throughout the stressful moments,” head coach Kari Angell said. 

The team was also bumped up to 4A to compete in the Jazz dance competition, where the team placed ninth. 

“Due to lack of teams in the 3A Jazz category, we were forced to bump up to the 4A division, and we ended up placing ninth,” Angell said. “I am so proud of my girls for not giving up. It’s not easy having to compete against large teams in 4A, but these girls loved the experience.”

Competing last week were seniors Zhewel Christenson and Mona Jordan, juniors Sara Brinkerhoff and Sadie Wassmer, sophomores Whitney Hendershot, Livee James and Maecie Joy and freshman Ella Spanier.

Danielle Leonhardt served as an assistant coach for the team. 

“We have room to grow and things we can improve on,” Angell said. “But no doubt, these girls did amazing things and have made us coaches proud this season.”