State Cheer Team Gets Rare Three-Peat and Then Some …

Updated: March 25, 2014

(The South Cheer Team show off the hardware after winning two state titles and a runner-up finish at the 2014 State Spirit Championships held in Casper, WY on Wednesday March 12, 2014. Photo by Kirsy Kunard)

Three years ago, the South High Cheer team entered into the All-Girl Stunt category for the first time ever. That year they won their first ever and the schools first ever team championship. Three years later, the South High Cheer Team still hasn’t lost in the All-Girl Stunt Category at the State Cheer Championships as there name was called for a third consecutive time as the State Champions.

“There was so much pressure. We had big expectations from people, but it was only about having fun and doing our best and that was big enough to win again,” said senior cheerleader Summer Vigil. “We were confident but after watching Green River we knew they had a huge chance. Everyone said they thought it would be between us and them for first and second place. When they (Green River) were announced second we all went a little crazy.”  To earn a three-peat at any level in any sport is extremely hard. Especially in a sport that comes down to points earned from a panel of judges. Each year, the bar is raised higher and higher and the performances have to be that much better and that much crisper to earn the right to be called a State Champion once again. “It’s different because it’s unheard of to get a three-peat because it is so challenging. So to win this one made it so great to win. It just proved we are the best stunters in the state,” said senior Megan Hansen. “I was just thinking ‘Oh My … I cannot believe we did it. Three times? We did it!”.

Such a successful night after a season where the South Cheer Team saw Coach Kim Robert split time between family and cheer due to surgeries to her son in the summer time and her husband in December. “We always tried to practice and perform for our coach. We wanted more than anything to make her proud and show her that this was all worth it,” explained senior cheerleader Taylor Cortez. “This year was full of so many obstacles. Especially with what coach went through. We worked incredibly hard this year and it was full of frustration, but it all paid off and i couldn’t be more proud of my team and what we accomplished together. It was amazing.”

This season began with Coach Robert splitting time between her team and her son Matthew, who had just had surgery early in the summer and during the team’s summer camp, “Matthew had just had surgery and was completely non-weight bearing. He required both Mark and I to transfer him anywhere. I spent the afternoon and early evenings with the team in Fort Collins and the rest of the time at home taking care of Matthew,” said Coach Robert. Then in the middle of their cheer season, her husband would undergo surgery that required Coach Robert to spend a lot of her time in Denver because of complications that arose during the surgery. “I was in Denver the majority of December and January. I was honest with the team about what was going on and what I needed/expected them to do.”

Kim’s son is doing incredible and her husband is healing and finally home.  “Honestly the entire season was hard! My son’s surgery was June 10 and Mark’s surgery was December 10. The entire season was a bit jumbled. I’m so proud of these kids for not giving up on me or themselves!”

Even members of the cheer team are grateful for the support that Coach Robert’s assistant coaches had for the team, Summer Vigil certainly appreciated it. “We had Nikki, a volunteer coach, and Brittany the j.v coach be at practices. We greatly appreciated it and couldn’t have done it without them. We tried our best to make practice a place Coach Robert came to get her mind off of everything. We wanted to do our best for her and make her happy. That was big enough to keep everyone focused.”

To add to an already busy schedule was the addition of a coed team, a challenge that Coach Robert and her cheer team were ready to take on with a full head of steam. “I had two guys come talk to me right before Thanksgiving. I told them I wouldn’t do it with less than five guys, the next day they came back with three guys. They held up their end of the deal so I had to hold up my end” said Coach Robert. The girls on the cheer team accepted them as well, “It was funny, the boys were afraid to offend us by touching us” said Summer Vigil. Even Megan Hansen noticed it, “I wouldn’t say it was awkward but it was definitely weird being thrown up there by guys and them touching you. But I mean it’s part of the sport so it never really bothered me. The guys were great!”. The young men would get over their fears and progress each and every day. Without having any cheer experience, these young men would jump in head first to all of the challenges that cheer does offer. “The guys actually caught on very quickly to the stunting aspect of the routine. The formation, cheering and dancing took a bit more work and Coach Brittany McWhorter  did a great job creating a routine that played to the team’s strengths,” explained Coach Robert. “With everything being so late and knowing Mark was heading into surgery, I asked my assistant coach, Brittany McWhorter, to take lead on this routine. Brittany did and amazing job.”

At the end of that long day in Casper, the South High Cheer team came home with two state titles and a runner-up finish. To the seniors on this team, they ended their Bison Cheer career the way they envisioned it, as champions. They broke knew ground by taking home the Coed State Championship in their first ever year of competing and was oh so close to bringing home a third in non-stunt. The seniors on this team have left a lasting legacy just like the seniors before them. Taylor Cortez is one of the seniors that helped build the program, “I want to tell everyone on my team how proud I am of them. Every single one of them did such an amazing job, and to just remember this year and no matter how hard things may seem to be, to never give up. Because it will all be worth it in the end. I love every single one of them with all my heart.”

At the end of the day, win or lose, everyone that has participated in a South High Bison Athletic Program are champions in our eyes. The seniors of the cheer team and the seniors of any other Bison Athletic Program have seen the ups and downs of the school since the first day and have had to help build a foundation for future classes. The Cheer team have not only built the foundation of success that this school has  truly embraced, they have started on the structure of success that all of our students and faculty will see every time they walk into the gymnasium and see the championship banners hanging on the wall. Championship banners that were earned by pride, hard work, dedication and the belief that when you put your heart and mind into anything, you can accomplish the goals you set for yourself. Congratulations to the entire South High Bison Cheer Team for making us all believers.