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Rock Canyon High School's Student Newspaper

the Rock Online

Rock Canyon High School's Student Newspaper

the Rock Online

Rock Canyon High School's Student Newspaper

the Rock Online

Adding to the Titles

Varsity Poms adds to their 5x Colorado Pom State Championships after winning this year’s State.
Principal+Andrew+Abner%2C+the+varsity+poms+team+and+Athletics+Director+Tom+Brieske+smile+with+the+State+trophy+and+poster+after+being+announced+as+State+Champions+Dec.+9.+This+was+the+team%E2%80%99s+sixth+state+championship+win+in+school+history.+%E2%80%9CWhen+they+announced+us+%5Bas%5D+the+winners%2C+we+were+all+so+excited+and+relieved+that+our+work+had+paid+off.+Our+next+step+is+Nationals%2C%E2%80%9D+varsity+poms+dancer+Harper+Rank+%E2%80%9825+said.
media by photo courtesy of Greg Stanton
Principal Andrew Abner, the varsity poms team and Athletics Director Tom Brieske smile with the State trophy and poster after being announced as State Champions Dec. 9. This was the team’s sixth state championship win in school history. “When they announced us [as] the winners, we were all so excited and relieved that our work had paid off. Our next step is Nationals,” varsity poms dancer Harper Rank ‘25 said.

Eleven dancers in matching red lipstick, tight buns and sparkling uniforms stand on the floor in front of thousands of spectators, waiting for their moment to perform. Waiting to earn a spot with the five other teams, out of 21 there, that will make it to Finals at the Denver Coliseum Dec. 9. 

The music begins to blare from the overhead speaker. The routine begins. 

This is the varsity poms team going for their sixth Colorado High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) 5A Poms State title. 

Leading up to the state competition, the varsity poms team increased their training, rehearsing four to six days a week for three hours each day, totaling to about 12 to 18 hours of practice a week. 

Varsity poms dancer Allison Stanton ‘24 yells as she performs the team’s routine Dec. 9. Stanton has been on varsity for all four years of high school. “State is [a] very stressful event with a lot of pressure on all of the dancers, but it’s a very exciting time as well. Since this is my last year, I really tried to focus on soaking up every moment and not getting distracted,” Stanton said. “Hearing the announcer say that we won was an indescribable feeling that I will never forget. It is amazing to know that all of our hard work and time that we put into the team paid off.”

“We spend this time working on our strength and cardio, cleaning our routine, making changes and reviewing videos of our practices and competitions,” varsity poms dancer Allison Stanton ‘24 said. “We have weekly competitions and showcases that prepare us for State. It is a long and difficult process but the end result is worth it.”

Using critiques from previous competitions to make changes to the routine, the team participated in studio and technique classes outside of school practices to practice turns, jumps and legs, and rehearse different styles other than Pom.

“It felt good to see hard work pay off and I don’t think any other feeling is as good as hearing your name be called [as the winner],” varsity poms dancer Gianna Peterson ‘25 said.

The team consisted of new and young members after 12 members graduated last year. With a team of rookies, only four of the dancers had competed at State before. 

“The difference between State this year and last year, for one thing, is that we lost 12 seniors. So, we have a younger team with more rookies than returners, but we didn’t let that get in our heads,” varsity poms dancer Harper Rank ‘25 said. “State was also different this year because we knew we had our work cut out for us. It definitely motivated us and pushed us at our practices. We knew we needed to go into it this year feeling super strong and more confident.”

The team competed in the 5A Poms category at the Denver Coliseum. The Cherry Creek High School (CCHS) Bruins were the defending champions of last year’s 5A Poms state title. 

Varsity Poms dancer Gianna Peterson ‘25 leaps into the air as Megan Miller ‘27 and Addy Rolf ‘26 dance on either side of her in State Finals at the Denver Coliseum Dec. 9. The team spent 11 months of the year practicing and rehearsing. “[Poms] means the world to me and sharing it with teammates is always a joy,” Peterson said. (media by photo courtesy of Steve Abeyta Photography)

“I am so grateful that we placed second last year out of so many amazing teams, but there was some regret about what we could have done differently, especially since we only lost by half a point [last year],” Stanton said. “This year was definitely more special and there was no regret. We came off the floor feeling really good about our performance. Overall, we had really good energy and technique, which are very important.”

During Semifinals, the team kept their energy up. 

“We all had super positive attitudes and a good feeling leading into it,” Rank said. “We had super strong competitors so we knew it wasn’t gonna be easy.”

In the Semifinals, the team received a score of 89.675 with zero deductions, placing them at .425 higher

JV coach Grace Stutler, head coach Christina Leone, varsity assistant coach Paige Hesen and JV assistant coach Nicole Gentilella smile with the 5A Pom Pons State trophy after winning first place in at State Dec. 9. The team’s final score was an 88.95, 0.85 higher than second place Cherry Creek. (media by photo courtesy of Greg Stanton)

than CCHS, who had a score of 89.25 and no deductions.

The Jaguars were placed first going into Finals, with the Bruins in second. 

“The judges always give us comments from our performance [after Semifinals], and we have to adjust and fix those comments for Finals,” Peterson said. 

During Finals, the Jaguars scored 88.95 points, according to an article featuring the win in chsaanow.com, claiming first place at State.

“We never held back, we gave it our all. All of our hard work and confidence paid off. It was such an amazing moment and memory when we were called first place,” varsity dancer Megan Miller ’27 said.

This was their third state title in the past four years and sixth state title overall. The Bruins finished as runner-ups, with a final score of 88.125.

“It was really fun watching State because their dance this year is very hype and advanced. Even though I didn’t perform, I was still nervous for them and ecstatic when they won,” JV poms dancer Sabrina Xu ‘26 said. “Varsity is literally insanely good. They’ve inspired me in their work ethic, as they work so hard throughout the whole year to be able to win State and do well at Nationals, all while attending the games for other sports at our school. Also, every single person on varsity is an incredible dancer, and I love watching them dance.”

The varsity poms team cheers as they receive the State Champion trophy and banner Dec. 9. Since 2019, the team has earned three state titles and two state runner-up titles in 5A Pom. “I am very proud of the coaches and teammates who were able to make this happen,” Stanton said. “Dance is very subjective, and there are a lot of really good teams in Colorado, so we can never predict if we will win or not. All we can do is train and practice as much as possible so that we can feel confident going into the competition.” (media by photo courtesy of Steve Abeyta Photography)

Looking to the future, JV will compete at State in January, and varsity will compete at the National Dance Team Championship Feb. 2 to Feb. 4, 2024, in Orlando, FL.

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    Angela MoblyDec 21, 2023 at 4:21 pm

    Great Story Claire!!

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