"Off-season" at Bayfield High School?
For BHS cheerleaders, the very concept is just that: a concept.
Practically picking up where BHS' all-around historic 2017-18 athletic year left off in May, BHS Cheer Squad members completed a recent four-day Universal Cheerleaders Association camp in Fort Collins, with five earning UCA All-America distinctions.
"We brought home just a bunch of new crowd cheers and ways we can get our own teams pumped up," head coach Annette French said, noting the trip began with a 4:30 a.m. departure on Monday, June 18.
"So we'll be reviewing all the cheers, getting the new cheerleaders caught up, and getting ready for our State routine that we'll be starting in August and perform in December!"
And leading the way will be All-America picks Hannah Whitmer, Gianna Gallegos, Eli Monyek, Dawson French and Kalon Mead, recognized up at Colorado State University for their ability and co-ed cohesiveness.
"They basically had to try out for this recognition, and they were scored on their jumps, their ability to stunt, dance routine, and a cheer routine," Annette French said. "They heard comments all week from the other cheerleaders: 'We love your team!' 'You guys seem to have such a good bond!' 'Everyone seems to get along, like a tight family.' So as a coach too, you know, it makes you feel proud!"
She's also proud that of the six team members who tried out for All-America honors, five earned the title.
That "group" praise also manifested itself in an award for the team.
"In camp you're kind of scored on your own individual growth; you don't compete like you do at State," said French. "Our team was awarded the Leadership Award, where all the teams were able to vote on if there was a team that you would want to choose to be on, what team would that be?" explained French. "And all the teams chose our team, which was pretty cool because there's around 500 cheerleaders!"
"They're starting to get to know who 'Bayfield' is," she added.
And that name is something the whole crew of four boys and 14 girls would like to shout at a national level.
"We're going to try and attend two other UCA competitions," French said. "In those we have the chance to qualify for Nationals." Last year, they competed for the first time in a UCA competition, taking fifth. "They don't score you by 5A, 3A or whatever; you're scored all-around. So we went up against a bunch of 5A schools and took fifth place." The All-America honorees also now have an opportunity to perform in the New Year's Day Parade in London, England.
"If we do better this year there's a chance we'd get a bid, possibly go to Nationals in Orlando, Florida," French said of team competition. "It's a long-term goal; we'd love to go."
"Half of our team is returning from last year, and then we have a bunch of new freshmen," said French, looking ahead to the '18-19 CHSAA campaign. "They're ready to try to qualify for State again, and-at least-get into the final round again." In December, the team captured third place in the 2A-3A State coed category at the Denver Coliseum.
"None of our freshmen had ever done any sort of cheering or stunting, and they definitely had their work cut out," she said of last year's squad. "But they worked hard and they did well! So I think it'll be a good year for us."