Lovell dancers place second, Rocky cheerleaders third
They did it again. The Lovell High School Dance Team, under first-year head coach Sara Green, excelled in competition against much larger schools at the Wyoming State Spirit Competition last Wednesday, March 6, at the Casper Events Center.
The LHS Dance Team placed second in Class 3A Dance, a little more than a point behind first-place Lander Valley and a little more than a point ahead of third-place Jackson Hole. The fourth-place squad, Star Valley, finished a little less than three points behind the top three, and Powell was fifth, Kemmerer sixth, Lyman seventh, Wheatland eighth and Douglas ninth.
Lovell’s six-person competition team included senior Cheyenne Brightly, juniors Jordan Harper, Chelby Lewis and Ashley Steenbakkers, sophomore Whitney Grant and freshman Heather Bartling. The manager is freshman Emilee Bryson.
“I think the girls did a really good job last week,” Coach Green said. “I was really excited and really proud of them because the competition was so fierce. It was a compliment to finish second by such a close margin. Lander looked so great.”
Green said the judges loved the Lovell costumes and loved the dance choreography. She said they called the squad’s technique “beautiful.”
“One judge said it was her favorite routine of the evening, so that was a really big compliment,” Green said.
As the public address speaker announced fourth-place Star Valley and third-place Jackson, the Lovell girls were on pins and needles, Green said, knowing that they were either shut out or in the top two.
“It’s really exciting, and all the girls were holding hands and hoping and hoping and hoping,” she said. “When they called our name we were just really excited.
“I’m proud of the girls and the girls are proud of themselves. That’s all you can ask for as a coach.”
Also placing high at the State Spirit Competition was the Rocky Mountain Cheerleading Team, coached by Sally Bernhisel, which placed third in the Class 3A Non-Stunt category behind champion Lyman and second-place Douglas but ahead of fourth-place Star Valley, fifth-place Kemmerer and 10 others in the 15-team field.
“We were third but first in 2A, which is what we like,” Bernhisel said.
Asked what put the Rocky squad in the top three, Bernhisel replied, “They nailed their jumps, they were very tight and their facials were working. In 3A non-stunt, if you can nail the jumps, be tight, get your formations lined up and interact with the crowd, you’ll do well. The rest is choreography.
“Our challenge has been the timing of our jumps and staying tight, being in sync. The competition was very good this year, and watching them, there’s no way I knew what place they’d be in.”
The Lovell High School Cheerleading Team, coached by Minda Ohman, competed in Class 4A (all-class) Co-ed category for the first time and placed a respectable eighth among 3A and 4A schools. Cheyenne Central was the champion, followed by Douglas, Casper Kelly Walsh, Gillette and Laramie. Lovell finished ahead of Star Valley and Wheatland.
Members of the team include senior Jacob Mayes and junior Isaac Schroeder, as well as seniors Shenéa Allred, Italian exchange student Giorgia Pastocchi and Tessa Watson, juniors Stephanie Allred, Sahara Jasso, Chelby Lewis, Ashlee McIntosh, Camille Ohman, Lauren Stewart and Victoria Zupko and freshmen Tori Aiken and Shandelle Allred. Freshman Nyckalas Harvey is a member of the team, as well, but has been injured.
The Lovell cheerleaders, minus Mayes and Schroeder, placed ninth out of 15 teams in the 3A Non-Stunt category just behind Rawlins and ahead of Thermopolis, Wheatland, Cokeville, Powell, Burlington and Worland.
By David Peck