Local spirit squads, dance team, prepare for state competition

State basketball and state indoor track are not the only culminating events local athletes are looking forward to this week. Lovell dancers and Lovell and Rocky Mountain cheerleaders will travel to Casper next week for the State Spirit Competition to be held Wednesday, March 6, at the Casper Events Center.Lovell Dance Coach Sara Green will lead her LHS dance team to Casper for a performance scheduled for 7 p.m. March 6. Her six-person competition team includes senior Cheyenne Brightly, juniors Jordan Harper, Chelby Lewis and Ashley Steenbakkers, sophomore Whitney Grant and freshman Heather Bartling. The manager is freshman Emilee Bryson.[caption id="attachment_5774" align="alignright" width="197"]Chelby Lewis Chelby Lewis[/caption][caption id="attachment_5775" align="alignright" width="228"]Ashley Steenbakkers Ashley Steenbakkers[/caption]Green said the squad will perform a “technical, contemporary dance” choreographed by Lauralyn Kofford of Utah with an Arabian Nights theme. The girls will don red gypsy costumes, Green said, noting that the dance is “really intense.”As in recent years, Lovell will compete in Class 3A, making the road to a placing challenging.All-State danceTwo Lovell juniors were selected to the All-State Dance Team following tryouts Saturday at Casper Natrona High School. Ashley Steenbakkers and Chelby Lewis were chosen for the select squad, and Jordan Harper was also chosen to try out, Green said.Asked to describe the two all-state dancers, Green said, “Ashley does a lot of technique. She really likes technical dancing. She’s a great listener and a great learner.“Chelby is a great performer. She likes upbeat music and gets into the music. She also listens to corrections and learns, and she’s not afraid to try new things.”Cheer teamThe Lovell High School cheerleading team will compete in two areas for the first time on March 6, Class 3A non-stunt cheer and all-class co-ed cheer. The non-stunt cheer time slot for Lovell is 5:28 p.m., with the co-ed team to perform at 8:48 p.m.Fifth-year coach Minda Ohman said senior Jacob Mayes, junior Isaac Schroeder and freshman Nyckalas Harvey joined the squad this season, though Harvey is out with a broken ankle suffered about a month ago. The boys allow the team to do more things, Ohman said.“It’s been great. The boys have been a really, really good addition,” Ohman said. “We’ve been able to go further in stunting. We’ve always wanted to do some things, and the boys allow us to do new things.“With their strength – and they’re easy-going guys – it’s been a lot of fun.”Once Harvey went down, however, the team had to adjust.“We had been practicing for quite some time, and we had to go back to the drawing board and change things,” Ohman said.Girls on the varsity competition squad – who will perform without Mayes and Schroeder in the 3A non-stunt category – include 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.“We’ve had a lot of support,” Ohman said, noting, for instance, the work of Cathy Thompson, who has worked with the team weekly to teach the gymnastics portion of the routines.The stunt routine includes a crowd-involvement cheer, a pyramid and stunting, gymnastics and a dance section in the required 2:30 time period.The squad has been working Saturday mornings since October, Ohman said, to prepare for both competitions.“They’ve put in a lot of extra time to do this,” she said.Rocky Mountain High School is also taking a cheerleading squad to Casper and will perform at 4:32 p.m. on March 6. Coach Sally Bernhisel did not return a phone call requesting information about the squad by press time.By David Peck