AHS dance team rallies to win program’s second championship in three years
The Aspen High School dance team had plenty of time to mull things over. With roughly seven hours between the morning’s preliminary round and that afternoon’s final, the Skiers were going to have no excuses in their quest for another state championship on Saturday.
And, after fixing what needed to be fixed, Aspen came out on top to win the Class 3A poms state championship inside the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs.
“By that point we knew everything we needed to do to win. We came back, we read our notes, and we just needed more power and drive and the want to win,” AHS coach Maddy Miller said. “And they wanted it. They really worked so hard and they realized they can do better. They got all their jitters out the first round and came out in the second round and we said, ‘Have fun and enjoy the moment,’ and they came out so much stronger and harder.”
Aspen’s prelim routine took place just before 9 a.m. on Saturday, the final day of the three-day CHSAA state spirit championships. The Skiers advanced through to finals — not scheduled to begin until at least 4 p.m. — in second place, and were lucky to have even that.
A slight hiccup in their preliminary round nearly cost AHS, but they were able to get the penalty overturned. Even with the deduction, Aspen would have made finals, although in third instead of second.
“We had a little bit of a scare this morning where we got a 5-point deduction during prelims,” Miller said. “We had a little bit of a mess up doing our kick line. It was a 5-point deduction, which we ended up fighting and winning. So thank goodness for that. It was so stressful.”
The final tally after finals was Aspen 87.7 and University 84.55, with SkyView Academy coming in third with 83.025. University was hit with a penalty deduction in the finals that allowed AHS to jump them in the standings.
This was Aspen’s second state championship in three years. The Skiers also won the 3A poms title in 2019, Miller’s first season as the team’s head coach. The dancers also work closely with assistant coach Gioia Bartalo, a former Denver Broncos cheerleader who runs Summit Studio out of Snowmass Village.
That 2019 title was the first state championship for the AHS dance program. This second title now has the Skiers thinking dance dynasty.
“It feels pretty incredible. Obviously taking over this program two years ago, I never knew that this would be where we are now,” Miller said. “I’m incredibly lucky to have such an amazing coach with me. Gioia and I are such a good team and these kids have really shown that you can do anything. Even a 3A school can win a state title that they’ve never won before and do it again in two years. They are out to win. They work so hard. They deserve every minute of it and as a coach there is nothing better than them feeling like they know they did their best and then actually seeing the result.”
Next up, the Skiers will compete in early February at the national championships, an event they were qualified for prior to the state championships.