Spirit preview: Castle View co-ed cheer aiming for three-peat

Things are already heating up for the two-time Class 4A/5A co-ed cheer state champions from Castle View.

Coach Heather Acampora was quite pleased after her team's huge accomplishment in December, but her drive for success is at its peak and the Sabercats are back for more.

Castle View won the 4A/5A co-ed cheer championship. (Whitney Webermeier/CHSAANow.com)

Castle View won the 4A/5A co-ed cheer championship last season. (Whitney Webermeier/CHSAANow.com)

With just under two months of announcing the Sabercats' 2016-17 cheer squad, the preparation for competition season began. Aside from the standard summer practices almost every high school cheer team endures, Castle View goes above and beyond in this area.

“During the summer, each team does strength and conditioning with the school three times a week and they also do tumbling twice a week, so they’re not really off,” Acampora said.

The Sabercats journey to competition season is not limited to just this, they also attended a Masters camp hosted by the biggest cheerleading company around, Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA). It was here the Sabercats found themselves working with some of the best coaches in the country — including members from Team USA and top cheerleading athletes from various colleges.

The Sabercats didn’t only get the chance to work with these incredibly knowledgeable cheerleading instructors, they also had the opportunity to work with Blake Johnson, a VIROC choreographer. The team was given its routine in June, and Johnson used his cheerleading intellect to create what would best fit the Sabercats needs — which is valued at about four thousand dollars.

“They have been given the best and hardest routine I’ve ever seen for a high school team. It was designed to meet the score sheet and help our kids,” said Acampora.

The Sabercats have ambitious plans for this season and are truly pushing their limits.  They will be performing predominantly college-level skills such as unassisted co-ed full up to hands, partner four high to high full arounds, low-to-high ticks — and on the tumbling side of things, select standing and running fulls.

Castle View lost three major leaders from the previous season and Acampora is well aware that this season will be different without them. The focus now is leadership training and of course, crowd leading.

“There are a lot of teams stepping up that are going to be great this year,” said Acampora.

But the confidence she has in her team is at an all time high and with the team’s dedication, drive, and minimal amount of switching stunting positions. They are expecting a smooth ride on the way to State.

The team will perform its routine several times in front of a crowd leading up to the big day come December, Castle View will be hosting a competition Oct. 22, and the team is also enrolled in UCA Regionals in Pueblo (gameday squad), UCA Regionals in Denver (competition squad), league, and an exhibition at an all-star gym.

Castle View is hungry, and so are many other high school cheerleading programs.  The Sabercats have remained undefeated the past two years and in just under four months, Colorado will see if they are going to three-peat.