DENVER — The first time often doesn't go as planned, but that didn't bother the Riverdale Ridge High School cheer team.
The Ravens did it. They got onto the floor of the Denver Coliseum and they competed in front of a big audience and showed that they will be a part of the state spirit competition for a long time. It didn't matter if they stumbled, it didn't matter if they fell.
By the end of the competition, the girls got up and finished their routine with pride.
“We had fun and that’s the most important thing right now," Jordan Trjuillo said. "We showed who Riverdale was. Even though we fell a couple of times I felt we did pretty good as freshmen and sophomores competing as a varsity team.”
The school opened its doors for the 2018-19 school year meaning that every athletic team is new to its respective field of play. The cheer team is no different, but they craved the opportunity to compete at state, even if it was one of the more nerve-racking things they have done all year.
“It really was," Trinity Vanderbeek said. "We practiced a lot, but this was our first big competition.”
Of the four teams that advanced to finals, the Ravens were not included. There will be time for that for future teams. Coach Brian Franca knows that every strong program has to start somewhere.
When he speaks to future teams about competing at state and what the goals are for each girl, he will always mention the team that competed on Friday and how they were the girls that started everything for the cheer program.
“This is the group that set the stage," he said. "They built the traditions, they built the program and they established who we want to be. And we’re going to build on that the next year and the year after.”
Even when talking about the future, he couldn't contain his pride for the present. Seeing his team hit the floor and go through their routine is an experience he'll never forget.
“It’s awesome," he said. "They’re young, just freshmen and sophomores, and this was their first time competing. They didn’t do any other competition besides this so just them representing Riverdale Ridge and being out there was awesome."
And once they got out and there and got into their routine, that helped calm the nerves. They felt more at home and more in the moment as they started performing.
“I felt more calm and collected, because we’ve practiced so much that I can just flow through and be able to do it,” Vanderbeek said.
Looking ahead, they'll be back next year. The team will be more experienced and ready to take on the atmosphere that comes with competing at the Coliseum.
And if nothing else, they understand that they've done something for their school that no one else gets to do. They got to be the first Ravens to compete on the biggest stage of the year. That's an experience that no one can take away from them and it's something that future teams will talk about down the road.
“It’s been crazy because it’s our first cheer team and everyone’s hoping we do well," Trujillo said. "They just wanted us to show who Riverdale was. They didn’t care if we hit or won, just represent the school.”
Riverdale Ridge wasn't the only new team competing at the event. DSST: Byers also stepped on the floor for the first and also figures to be a regular for future competitions.