***The 2016-2017 Laramie High School Cheer Team. Picture by Jillian Martin***
“A New Era” is the theme for the 2016-2017 Laramie High School Cheer team. Under the direction of new Head Coach Danielle Cole and Assistant Coach Jillian Martin, the team is attempting to create new traditions at the new building. Cole is hopeful that challenges with school spirit in the past are going to be remedied with a fresh start.
Start of the season….
**The team attempts new stunts and formations at the games. Photo by Jillian Martin**
Cheer numbers are up this year with 16 girls on the roster. While Cole says the girls lack some in experience and basic fundamentals of high school cheer, they are overflowing with enthusiasm and drive.
“The girls are doing awesome. They’re working very hard and adapting to the mindset of the new program,” Cole shared. “I’m super proud of them and the hard work that they’ve put in and their willingness to trust me and the new direction that I’m taking the team. I’m looking forward to the rest of this season and many more seasons to come to build the program even more.”
Meet Coach Cole….
Danielle Cole is a familiar face around Laramie. While growing up here and in Broomfield, Colo., she acquired 15 years of gymnastics experience and was on the Varsity squad at Broomfield High for two years.
After high school, Cole attended the University of Wyoming where she and Assistant Coach Jillian Martin both cheered on the University of Wyoming Cheer Team. Cole was on the co-ed team for one year, and the poms team for two years, one of which as captain. She went on to Laramie County Community College to complete the physical therapist assistant program.
Danielle and her husband, C.J., live in Laramie and both work at the Spine & Injury Clinic of Laramie, PC. When she is not busy with work and coaching, she enjoys spending time with her family and puppy Hurley, hiking and cheering on UW at various athletic events.
“She has a lot of energy and is doing a nice job with the kids,” said Bruce Schmidt, Athletics Director at Laramie High School.
White-Out: A new tradition….
**The team create signage to advertise ‘A New Era’ for their fellow students. Picture by Jillian Martin.**
The team started off the 2016 football season with a White-Out Event in which fans purchased white T-shirts from the team and wore them to the first home game. The girls sold over 400 shirts and made quite the impression on the community and school administration.
“It is a new tradition that we’re starting since we’re at a new building and every first game for football and basketball is a white-out, which is a fundraiser for the team as well as a way to unite the student body and community,” said Angie Jones, a senior on the team as well as one of three captains.
Budget cuts and rising participation costs at the Wyoming State Spirit Competition are a concern for the team. New uniforms, decorating lockers for other sports on game days, shoes, pom-poms and now a charge for approved music at the state competition are costs associated with this season that the event helped to cover.
A new building….
The new high school has already benefitted the team in numerous ways, most importantly by giving them their own space to practice in.
“The new building has given us that platform to start new, a fresh start for everything. We got new uniforms and they have a nice school that they’re all proud of. It has boosted morale,” says Cole.
With a new space to practice, the team can focus on improving the necessary skills to perform well at State Cheer later this spring.
“We’ve improved more in one month than we have in the last three years,” says senior co-captain Sarah Shinstine.
Coach Cole said her goal for the season is “to continue to improve stunting and tumbling and build trust so girls are willing to do higher levels of stunts.”
**The sprit squad encourage the student body and fans to get involved in school spirit. Photo by Jillian Martin**
“My goal is to lift up the student body in our school and also get involved in our community. We’re not just representing the spirit team, we’re representing our school. We are a good high school and we have good athletic programs,” said Shinstine.
The next home game is Friday against Cheyenne Central at 7 p.m.
The girls will also be making an appearance at the annual “Burning of the L” homecoming event. Shinstine says the team will be “trying to pump up spirit for the student body for the game the following day.” Homecoming this year is against Cheyenne South on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m.
“I’d like for it to be a program that the whole school and community can be proud of. A program that other schools can look at and want to strive to be like,” says Cole.