Sophomore Kory Mitchell takes to the competition floor for the first time

Lily Reavis, Reporter

Manitou Springs High School sophomore Kory Mitchell has been on the Manitou Springs Cheer team for four seasons, but this weekend was her first time on a competition floor. For Mitchell, who has Down syndrome, this was the payoff for seasons of hard work.

Earlier this year, the Manitou Springs Cheer team placed first at both their League and State competitions. On Saturday, January 24, the team set out to compete again at the Mines Cheerleading’s Cheer and Dance Classic.

The competition, which took place at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO, was much smaller than previous ones the team has competed in. At State, the team faced off against 19 teams. In this competition, Manitou only had four other teams to compete with, two of which were in their 3A division.

Prior to the competition, Mitchell expressed her excitement, saying, “I like my team and stunts, it’s all so fun!” The team wore pink bows, which is Mitchell’s favorite color.

Mitchell comes from a background of cheerleading, as her mother took part in the sport when she was in high school. Mitchell says that her mother is a huge help in learning her cheers and choreography.

“Kory kind of holds us together. She’s always happy and always so sweet to all of us, and she can make any of our days better. So I think her role is to hold us together,” said junior Ryan Murdock, one of Mitchell’s bases and another cheerleader on the team.

Murdock also says that the fall 2014 season was one of the strongest she’s seen. The team overcame many obstacles, including their third new coach in three years. “She’s definitely exactly what our program needed,” Murdock said.

In conjunction with presenting Kory with this opportunity, the team was followed by news reporters from CBS Denver News Channel 4 and The Denver Post all day. You can watch these videos here and here.

The team placed second at the competition.