DENVER — Going into Saturday night's final round of the State Spirit Championships, four points and two teams stood between the Class 5A cheer squads from four-place Rock Canyon and first-place Grandview.
And, at the end of the night, a fully executed routine by Rock Canyon sealed the 5A state title for its third time in the last four years.
“Having their hard work pay off is a phenomenal feeling and I’m unbelievably proud of them,” said Rock Canyon coach Amanda Mundaca.
By hitting a clean, solid routine, the Jaguars overcame an overwhelming four point deficit, performing skills such as switch-up pull throughs, one-and-a-half ups, inverted twisting variations, high-to-high full arounds, and impressive squad tumbling.
There is an clearly an incredible amount of difficulty within the routine, which was a major contribution to the errors made during prelims on Day 1.
All coaches deal with the deduction sheet differently, but Mundaca made the executive decision to keep everything the same heading into Day 2 and with lots of encouragement, teamwork, and motivation. The Jaguars were able to come together as one and perform a routine that will forever be remembered.
“It was just amazing to put something on the mat that we could be proud of,” said senior captain Schyler Geck.
The Jaguars finished with a score of 92.4. Eaglecrest (88.9) finished second, while Grandview (86.3) was third. Chaparral (85.8) was fourth.
Alongside Mundaca, stood Geck and the three other seniors on the team when Rock Canyon won its first State Championship back in 2012. With the Jaguar’s most recent accomplishment, these upcoming graduates can add another ring to their collection.
“I couldn’t be prouder to end their senior year with another state championship so it’s an awesome send off for them,” said Mundaca.
Even though the Jaguars will lose their four seniors next year, a great amount of returning talent will remain on the team and Mundaca hopes to continue this win streak next year by “coming out and hitting another clean routine.”
Coming off of last year’s streak-breaking sixth place finish, the Jaguars stayed determined and motivated throughout their entire season. On top of the traditional gameday situations, Mundaca consistently held five practices per week in order to properly prepare the team for State.
Throughout the season, the Jaguars have developed a growing passion for the team and its routine. The results made everything pay off for all of the time and energy that each individual athlete has put into it.
“I’m glad we could end with a bang and leave it all on the mat and I’m also happy that I could leave the team knowing that I did everything I could for them,” said Geck.
- Five teams successfully defended championships from a season ago: Vail Christian (2A pom), St. Mary's (2A/3A co-ed), Castle View (4A/5A co-ed), Cherry Creek (5A pom), and Monarch (hip-hop). Vail Christian's title was an astonishing sixth-straight, while Castle View has now won three-straight championships.
- Strasburg rebounded from losing a teammate to a serious injury in warmups to finish second in 2A/3A co-ed.
- Highland ended Cheyenne Wells' run of three-straight titles by winning 2A cheer. Cheyenne Wells finished third, while Swink was runner-up.
- Coal Ridge (cheer) and University (pom) took home championships in 3A.
- Valor Christian (cheer) and Wheat Ridge (pom) were crowned in 4A.
- Ponderosa won the Jazz championship, edging out defending champion Mountain Vista.