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Varsity poms’ focal points for the season


To start off the new varsity poms season, the team hired a new coach. Although, this is not the only change the team has made. They added new dancers, and due to COVID-19 and starting the season late, they have made a shift in some of their focuses for this year. 

Before coming to HR, Meredith Winnefeld, head coach of the HR poms team, coached at Littleton High School for two years as well as at Starstruck Dance Academy and Arizona State University. Winnefeld said, “Highlands Ranch has a tradition of excellence on their dance team and I think that’s something that really intrigued me as well as the opportunity to coach closer to home.”

Winnefeld has made a positive impact on the dancers. Kristin Anderson, junior, said, “She brings a super insightful technical element to the team as she is able to choreograph and teach great combos.”

This has been no ordinary season for any sport, but that hasn’t stopped the poms team from continuing to do what they love. Winnefeld said, “We have implemented some virtual practices and social distanced events but still making 2020 a positive one.”

COVID-19 has put a lot of sports seasons in jeopardy, so the dancers are glad to have somewhat of one, even if it’s modified a little bit. Rita Smith, sophomore, said, “We are so very grateful to even have the chance to have a season, so any competition opportunity we can get into, we will take.”

Aside from this, the team has actually been able to do a lot of the same things they normally do. Winnefeld said, “We have had the opportunity to perform at football games, participate in a virtual pep rally, and we are currently getting ready for our season and basketball season.”

The varsity poms team performs their routine at the football game against Lakewood. Photo Courtesy of Sydnee Martinez

Although the senior dancers left for college, some of the new dancers have been able to help fill their shoes and add different skills to the team. Anderson said, “Last year we had some really strong turners whereas this year our team is super strong in jumps.” Skill and talent are just one part of the team’s focus. The other is family.

Sydnee Martinez, junior and captain, said, “We’re trying to focus on us as a team and try to build a family.” A main part of family is how you treat and behave towards each other. The attitude and respect shown can really change the climate of a team. Martinez said, “How you treat them is also how they’re going to respond to things you need them to do.” 

Along with focusing on building this environment, the girls themselves have set their own goals. Anderson said, “Some of my personal goals are working on leadership and pushing myself to show up to classes outside of poms to continue to improve.”

The team decided to focus more on just their poms dance instead of both jazz and poms because that is what they’re going to compete with. “This is going to be a big change for us,” Martinez said. “We’ve always done jazz at state so we’ve always focused more on technique, whereas pom is definitely going to be a lot more stamina and strength.”

Pom dancing requires everyone to work together and trust each other because, according to Martinez, it’s not that easy. She said, “Working together and knowing that you’re doing it for yourself and the girl next to you and working as a family is a huge deal.”

The team strives to perform well this year and hopes to place in the top 10 in any competition they compete in, but that’s not all. Winnefeld said, “My goals for the team this season are to perform and support all the many activities and sports happening at Ranch.”

They are practicing and staying positive during this unusual season to be the best team they can be. Smith said, “Of course, we will not be able to attend an in-person Nationals, but we are still working hard and trying to get as ready as possible for the upcoming competition opportunities.”

Kara Lyons, Associate Editor

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Varsity poms’ focal points for the season