Spirit preview: Bayfield starting fresh with new coach, new additions, new expectations

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Bayfield competed in the 2016 state spirit competition with two cheerleaders — the first time in CHSAA state spirit history just two athletes took the mat.

This year, Bayfield wants to start fresh in more ways than one. Captain Katelyn Gosney, who made up half of that tandem, is one of the few constants in Bayfield's reinvention.

"(Gosney) has been in it the whole time," First year head coach Annette French said. "She's been hanging in there. This is her senior year, so finally I'm glad she gets to go out with a good team. The majority of our team is freshman that have had tumbling and all-star experience.

"I've got to give credit to our seniors, they've just hung in there with the program for the past few years."

French and Gosney are looking forward to showing her small town what Bayfield cheer is capable of. To start, French has a team of 12 girls, including Gosney, and four boys. Three of those boys also play football at Bayfield.

"I've had a vision for the team for a long time," French said. "It's exciting to finally see all the work ethic that I've been instilling in these kids and finally now have the opportunity to coach a team and see them succeed."

French runs a gymnastics facility in Bayfield and has been able to work with most of the girls she has on Bayfield's team prior to this year.

"I've had the opportunity to work with a lot of the girls," French said on her facility that she's owned for seven years. "A bunch of the girls this year were (with me). A lot of them have had the gymnastics tumbling experience and did the middle school program with me for cheer."

That familiarity is certainly going to help the new additions at Bayfield as they try to navigate a new school and a new program. To French, building a strong foundation of trust and experience is the most important aspect.

"Having that instilled in them definitely helps. I'm hoping to get these girls the opportunity to be able to go compete and do what they're capable of and take it from there," French said. "Get the trust of the community and my school. Actions are going to speak louder than words."

(Aislyn Carrillo/CHSAANow.com)

She has an uphill battle as the cheer program has not gotten very much support in recent years.

"When they went to state with two cheerleaders, it was definitely one of those years where people were not supporting our cheer team," French said. "Those two girls were still proud to be able to represent Bayfield."

But, French is looking to change that. She wants to go out and create a better name for the Bayfield cheer program.

"I want to be able to prove it to our school and community," French said. "I'm trying to instill in them that I'm a new coach, it's a new year with a new set of girls. What's happened in the past, we're changing that.

"We're going to show Bayfield what these girls are really capable of."

And, French wouldn't mind adding more names to the Bayfield roster.

"To me, as long as they have a good attitude and they're teachable, I can teach kids how to tumble and stunt. But, what I truly what's more important to me is empowering the girls. I love giving everyone the opportunity to be a part of this."

French wants to take Bayfield to another competition in addition to state this year to give her team more experience.

"As far as competing, I'm hoping that we do well and can walk off that mat with our heads held high because they worked hard," French said. "I'm not expecting a certain place (at state). In their heads, they're all thinking we're going to be top five this year. I hope that happens.

"For them knowing that I'm backing them and supporting them and want to take them to another competition, they're over the moon about that."

French finally gets to be at the helm of the team she's watched for so many years as a bystander. She's in it for the long-term success of Bayfield.

"I want to finally see my team succeed in the right direction," French said. "Whether that's building the program up right now, or if that's doing well in state or getting a bid to go to nationals. I would love the opportunity to go and keep learning.

"That's what I want these girls to be doing: learning and building skills. When they're done with high school on the other side, they can deal with whatever comes their way."

The 2017 spirit season will feature Vail Christian in search of a seventh-straight title in 2A poms, while Castle View's co-ed team will be looking for a fourth-straight championship.

St. Mary's (2A/3A co-ed), Cherry Creek (5A poms) and Monarch (hip-hop) all could win their third-straight title should they take first come December.

Spirit preview

Defending champions:

Regular season begins: Aug. 14

First contest: Aug. 24

State competition: Dec. 8-9, Denver Coliseum