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The City Journals

Grizzly cheer captures a multitude of awards

Mar 13, 2018 04:47PM ● By Greg James

The Copper Hills cheerleaders spend many hours practicing and supporting many activities at their school. (Greg James/City Journals)

The Copper Hills High School cheerleading squad came home from the Utah State Cheerleading competition with an armful of awards.

“It was so exciting for Copper Hills,” Grizzly cheerleading head coach Ulby Dyson said. “Many of these are firsts for our school. It is fun to experience. It was a very good weekend. They are competing at a high level and are good people on and off the mat.”

At the state cheerleading competition Jan. 27, the Grizzlies earned first place in the song division, second in sideline dance and second in coed show cheer. 

Cheerleading competitions are divided into several competing categories. 

The song division includes the school fight song with tumbling and dance routines. The sideline dance routine cannot include tumbling or stunts and is generally short and includes upbeat crowd-raising cheers.

“Cheerleading requires the girls to be good members of the community,” Dyson said. “Our team members get good grades; they all have over a 3.0 grade point average. They represent Copper Hills always.” 

They also earned several individual awards. Dyson was given the 6A coach of the year award.

“I am honored; it is definitely a group effort,” she said. “I do not do this by myself. I have amazing coaches, team parents and an administration that supports us. The school recognizes us. The student government made a huge poster for us. It speaks volumes to Copper Hills itself.” 

Individually, junior Kaylee Overby was the 6A jump-off state champion. Jump-off is a separate division in the competition. Individuals can choose to perform their best skill, such as toe touches or splits. The judges evaluate each selected jump.

“I competed at region and then competed at state,” Overby said. “I picked a hurdler-toe touch-toe touch jump. I was judged on how I executed and landed my chosen jump. We all are like a family and work together.”

Other team members also earned individual awards. Mckenna Rich was named to the Academic All-State team. She is a regular contributor to the team and maintained a high grade point average.

The Grizzlies had three team members named to the All-State team: Chayne Delacasas, Hailey Nichols and Schuler Darger.

“These are amazing athletes,” Dyson said. “They are also good people. Some think that all cheerleaders do is shake pom poms, but it is more about creating an enthusiastic atmosphere whether at a game or a community activity.”

The team competed in the UVA National Competition Feb. 9–11 in Orlando, Florida. 

Some Utah high school cheer teams require experience to be part of the team. The desired skills could include tumbling aspects or dance skills.

“The direction Utah high school cheer teams are headed, it is becoming more important to have some prior training,” Dyson said. “Cheerleading is more than just the skills. These kids need to have good attitudes, composure, leadership and team abilities. It takes a lot of time. They become ambassadors to the community.” 

The Grizzly cheerleaders helped with fundraisers such as paws with a cause and helped make banners for teams to celebrate their victories.

“I am already proud of them,” Dyson said. “They have become good people and carry themselves well. They work hard. This program is growing, and it has been an amazing year. We have good support from our athletic director and principal.”