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Publish Date: 1/11/2005

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Despite not having a coach to lead their practices or oversee their stunts, the Niwot High School cheerleading squad still attend sporting events such as the boys basketball game on Friday to show their support. They are not permitted to do stunts, however.Times-Call/Joshua Buck

Ready? OK, almost
Niwot cheer squad to get fourth new coach this year

 LONGMONT — The Niwot High School cheerleading team has had little to cheer about this year.

Since Cathy Greene, the team’s coach of seven years, left this summer for a job at Monarch High School in Boulder, the Niwot squad has seen three coaches come and quickly go, the latest to quit Dec. 13.

Athletic director Bruce Benningsdorf said he hoped to name a new coach, the team’s fourth since May, on Monday. However, Benningsdorf has yet to announce his decision.

Benningsdorf, who took the AD job in August, said he was unsure why the squad had such coaching upheavals.

“It’s a matter of getting a good fit for our program,” he said. “You need a full-time commitment, and that’s tough to do mid-year.”

“You don’t want to get someone to baby-sit,” he said. “You want someone who is knowledgeable about competing and stunting, and also comfortable and qualified to do that.”

Without a coach, the squad could not practice or perform stunts or tumbling at basketball games or wrestling matches the past three weeks.

“The only thing we’re allowed to do is we attend games in uniform and cheer, but only because administration is there,” said squad captain Heather Manley.

Fellow captain Madie Heidemann said their peers at school have made a joke out of the cheerleaders’ coaching woes.

And she blamed the revolving door of coaches for the team’s descent from one of the top four teams last December in its division at the Colorado High School Athletic Association competition to this year’s 20th place out of 35 teams.

“It’s kind of embarrassing,” Heidemann said. “I hoped for the best this year, like everyone does. But it’s even hard for me to stay motivated.”

Benningsdorf said the hiring process was delayed because the last coach, Damien Weigel, quit the week before the two-week holiday break.

He said Friday that he had interviewed four candidates for the full-time position.

Once hired, the new coach has just two months left in the season and must prepare the cheer squad for a Jan. 22 competition sponsored by the University of Colorado-Boulder cheer squad.

Benningsdorf said he sympathized with the cheerleaders but hoped the team could look to the future.

He said the chosen candidate would be “someone who the girls deserve and someone to help them grow in this program.”

Melanie Sidwell can be reached at 303-684-5274, or by e-mail at msidwell@times-call.com.


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