State event provides ‘spirited’ competition

Column by Jim Benton
Posted 12/17/19

State spirit championships were held Dec. 7 at the Denver Coliseum. Here are results: Ponderosa captured the 4A poms title with a score of 94.64, earning the school’s 12th spirit poms title to tie …

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State event provides ‘spirited’ competition


State spirit championships were held Dec. 7 at the Denver Coliseum. Here are results:

Ponderosa captured the 4A poms title with a score of 94.64, earning the school’s 12th spirit poms title to tie Grandview for first place all time. It was the 33rd overall spirit title for the Mustangs, making Ponderosa the winningest Colorado school in state spirit competition.

The Ponderosa poms team won with a new coach.

Abby Jo Luquette sold her dance studio in Gothenburg, Neb., moved to Colorado and got a job as a teacher and poms coach at Pondo.

“They had a lot of challenges to face,” Luquette said about her first Mustangs team. “The team had to get used to me being the new coach and trying to carry on all the traditions of Ponderosa.

“They had a slow and steady start and they peaked at the right time. No one thought they had to watch out for Ponderosa this year and they were wrong. We peaked right at the right moment. About the last two weeks leading up to state they stepped it up.”

There are still some people who debate whether disciplines of poms, cheerleading, co-ed cheer, jazz, hip-hop and game day should be considered sports, and I asked Luquette for her thoughts.

“For sure it is an athletic sport,” she said. “The girls, leading up to the competition, practice six days a week for at least three hours at a time. It takes athletic ability to be able to do what they do on the floor, as well as endurance and stamina. They train doing sprints and lifting weights.

“We have elementary and middle school feeder programs as well as a junior varsity team. The JV team competes just like the varsity all year long and they are trained to be prepared like varsity.”

To wrap up all the results from the state meet:

The Mustangs cheerleaders finished second in 4A cheer.

In the 5A poms competition, Cherry Creek repeated as state champs and won its eighth state title and fourth in the past five years. Creek had a score of 94.64 to defeat Rock Canyon (94.00) and Grandview (93.52).

Eaglecrest won the 5A cheers crown with a score of 91.80 to edge Rock Canyon with 89.25 points. Grandview was third.

For the second straight season, ThunderRidge won the 5A co-ed cheer with a score of 93.57. Mountain Vista was second with 85.62 points.

Cherokee Trail took the Jazz title with a score of 95.58, followed by Mountain Vista (94.76) and Valor Christian (94.74).

Eaglecrest won its second crown of the day by taking the hip-hop title with a score of 94.42. It marked the Raptors’ 11th overall championship.

In the new game-day category, Valor Christian won the 4A/5A title with a score of 97.37. Smoky Hill (97.03) was second, Cherry Creek third (91.07), Castle View fourth (90.25) and Regis Jesuit fifth (88.82).

Nike Cross Championships

Southwest Nike regional cross country champions Cole Sprout of Valor Christian and Riley Stewart of Cherry Creek finished among the pack at the Nike Cross Championships on Dec. 7 in Portland, Oregon.

Sprout was seventh with a time of 15:10.1 and Dakota Ridge’s Connor Ohlson ran fifth in 15:09.0

Stewart was 31st in the girls race with a time of 18:24.2.

Honor roll

Each week, performances of South Metro athletes and teams will be highlighted. This week’s performances were selected from games, matches and meets held between Dec. 5 and Dec. 12.

Smoky Hill’s boys basketball team scored 29 fourth-quarter points to pull away and notch an 85-76 win over George Washington in a Dec. 9 contest. Kendale Johnson had 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Smoky Hill.

Highlands Ranch’s girls basketball squad returned from a 3-1 trip to the Sweet 16 Invitational in La Jolla, California, and defeated Arapahoe, 32-23, in a Dec. 10 game. Sophomore Sam Crispe led Arapahoe with 10 points.

Sophia Capp won the 100 backstroke in 58.62 and the 200 IM in 2:09.84 as Mountain Vista downed Highlands Ranch 285-227 in a dual girls swimming meet on Dec. 3. Vista was second behind Fossil Ridge at the Mountain Vista Girls Early Invitational held Dec. 7. Sophia Capp won both the 100 backstroke and 200 IM in the Invitational meet.

Junior Riley Baker scored 11 points, grabbed six rebounds and had six steals in Castle View’s 39-31 girls basketball victory over Grand Junction on Dec. 6.

Heritage’s boys basketball team had five players score in double figures, led by 16 from junior Aiden Davis, in an 86-26 win over Silver Stage from Silver Springs, Nevada in a Dec. 7 contest.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

Jim Benton


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