On Saturday, Jan. 21, the M-CHS dance team joined Dolores High School’s dance team, along with many others from across the state, in a performance at the halftime show of a Denver Nuggets basketball game. The Nuggets have been allowing high school teams to perform through the NDA (National Dance Alliance) for many years.

  M-CHS dancers were given this opportunity through an invitation from Dolores. Dolores Head Coach, Debbie Hagger, received an email inviting her team to perform. She contacted the NDA and asked if M-CHS could join. The NDA accepted, and so did the M-CHS Dance Team.  

  The Dolores Dance Team has performed at the Nugget’s halftime show for the past three years. The DHS Dance Team was introduced to this idea through summer dance camps they had attended that were sponsored by the NDA.

  Attending this halftime show performance has improved Dolores High School’s dance team. “Performing in front of more people allowed us to better ourselves,” said Dolores dancer Krystal Hagger.

 The coaches and dancers all seemed hopeful about the performance. “It’s a good opportunity to get outside of Cortez and dance with large groups. Getting to dance at a professional game is pretty big,” said M-CHS Head Coach Belinda Livingston.

  The dance team has never done a televised event. However, Assistant Coach Megan Norris said she felt “excited for the girls to get out of such a small town and learn some different choreography.” She says the opportunity “will show them what they are capable of and give them more confidence for future performances.”

  M-CHS sophomore dancer, Brianna Dennison, felt nervous because she was not aware other high school dance teams were involved. She was confident that “it will be a better performance with more girls”. She hopes this opportunity makes our school and community see that “just because we are from a small town like Cortez, it doesn’t mean we don’t have any skill.”

  Everyone was eager to have something exciting happen after such a rough patch in the season. The M-CHS Dance Team lost their original coach midway through first semester. Athletic director, Mr. Chris Kelley, said “there are both positives and negative that came with the coach leaving. That is always tough on athletes. But I do believe that the situation brought them closer as a team.”

  The coaches only saw positivity from the girls with the situation. Coach Livingston thought “it had a positive effect on the girls, not so much a bad one.” Coach Norris was “glad the girls were able to have a fresh start at a new upcoming sports season. The situation really just brought back a positive atmosphere to the team.”

  After a rough beginning and many hours of dedicated practices, the M-CHS Lady Panther Dance Team earned a spot on the big stage.

Junior Caisey Duran swims the butterfly stroke at the Cortez Recreation Center Jan. 13, where four schools were in attendance: Gunnison, Durango, Delta, and Cortez.

  The annual rivalry basketball game between Durango High School and M-CHS took place at the Cortez gym Jan. 24, and began with the varsity girl’s game at 5:30, with the varsity boys following at 7:00. The team’s battled through four quarters against Durango to continue the decades old rivalry.

  The varsity boy’s record for this season is 6 wins to 11 losses, and within the newly placed 3A league the record is 3 wins 5 losses. At the Black Out game, the boys lost 40-69 to Durango. Junior Jesse Zetts, who was a spectator at the game, said the other team was “always in the lead by like 20-30 points.” 
  Junior Jasen Engel, #10 on the boys varsity, said the team was “flat on offense,” leading to a lack of points. Despite the loss, Engel says “if we are focused we can do well,” for the remainder of the season.

  The girls varsity team played first, and lost 22-66. It seemed like “everyone’s hearts weren’t in the game,” said player junior Kacie Featherman. The pre-season scrimmage against Durango put the team into a losing mindset.

  But even though the score was in a hopeless state, those supporting the  M-CHS teams never gave up cheering from the stands. “Lots of kids [were] standing,” said Jesse Zetts. The students, faculty, and community members would put arms in an “x” shape for good luck.

  Junior Ashley Wood said the teams “worked together very well,” and that “all the players are good friends.” The game was exciting to watch, according to Ashley, and the fact that “it’s a rival game,” makes it all the more exciting.

  The basketball season ends Mar. 3, un less the team qualify for state, which will take place Mar. 9-11.

  Though the weather was harsh outside, spectors made it to the game to support their team.



Crowd fight icy-roads to attend Black Out game

Madison Mahaffey, Staff Reporter 

Girls Basketball

Photo credit Tamika Casey

  The M-CHS Swim Team has been moving towards state since the beginning of December. The season will end with the state tournament Feb. 9-11. Led by coach Gayle Earley, the team has attended meets all over the western slope of Colorado. The goal of each race is to make the time required to attend state competition.

  The team is comprised of 15 girls, including some from Dolores and homeschoolers. This year the team dropped to 3A, and the season has been going great with the team qualifying for state in the first meet of the season. The team has also added a diving event, the first time in several years.

  So far, sophomore Jenna Barner has made a state qualifying time in the 50 freestyle with a time of 27:49, and Senior Bailey Duran set a new school record for the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:52:53. Senior Sam Bagge has qualified for state in 3 individuals and 3 relays.
The girls are striving towards state, but that is not their only goal. “They have their eyes on many of the school records and intend to not just break them but annihilate them,” said Coach Earley.

  This year’s juniors are looking forward to next year, where they can beat this year’s seniors times.

  But swimming is not an easy sport. “Disqualifications are exceptionally hard to overcome,” said Coach Earley. Ahnna Higgins, senior, said one of the most difficult things is how “it’s easy to fall into bad technique,” and how hard it is to fix it.

  The team has two more meets that they can qualify for state, and those who qualify will attend the state meet Feb. 9.

Swim team splashes towards state

Madison Mahaffey, Staff Reporter


Photo credit: Sam Green

Photo credit  Danae Thompson

M-CHS Dance Team stands in front of the Pepsi Center before their halftime performance at the  Denver Nuggets game on Saturday, Jan. 21.


Winter Sports Schedule 2016 - 2017


Boys Basketball

Dance team shines at halftime performance

Kacie Featherman, Staff Reporter