Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Student-Athlete of the Week: Kaitlin Knowlden


August 10, 2018

Courtesy Photo

Senior Kaitlin Knowlden (left) and Kimberly Perez were voted “All American” at UCA Cheer camp last month.

Fourth-year cheerleader Kaitlin Knowlden has been through her share of ups and downs with the Niwot Cheer team, but one memory that stands out is the last year’s Class 4A state competition.

“We hit our routine extremely clean,” the senior co-captain said. The Cougars finished 13th out of 31 teams, a remarkable accomplishment after nearly disbanding early in the school year. “We made everything look good and we were all really spirited. It was a really good performance and we were all really happy with it. Just knowing that with all the struggles we had faced last year and we were able to do that at State was a really good feeling.”

That good feeling has stayed with the team ever since, mostly thanks to Knowlden herself, said second-year cheer coach Alexis Bellinger.

“She is exactly what I picture when I see a cheerleader out on the field. She has a smile on her face, she’s there 20 minutes early, she’s always willing to help other teammates.

“She’s really been incredibly important to this program,” Bellinger continued.“Especially this year when we’re trying to raise our level of difficulty and expectation.”

These days, Knowlden has at least two reasons for the smile on her face. Earlier this year, she was appointed co-captain of the 20-member squad, a title she shares with Natalia Morales, one of two other fourth-year cheerleaders. The other is Savannah Parrott, who is this year’s head captain. Among other things, this makes Knowlden the team’s chief “spirit coordinator,” who oversees pep assemblies and “overall spirit for the other teams.”

“I do things like creating posters to hang around the school when those events are happening,” she said. “Not a lot of the girls want to be the ones who stay after school to hang them up, but I really like doing that. Arts and crafts is kind of my thing, and decorating the posters and just appreciating the other sports teams is a lot of fun for me.”

She was also voted “All-American” at last month’s four-day UCA Spirit Camp, held at CU-Boulder.

“We had to try out for that,” Knowlden explained. “We had to do a dance, a cheer, and then a jump, and they picked the best as All-American. It’s the ideal cheerleader.”

Aside from the acclaim, those voted “All-American” receive an invitation to London to perform in a New Year’s Day parade. Knowlden hasn’t decided whether she will go or not.

When she’s not on the sidelines or hanging up posters, Knowlden can probably be found in a classroom helping one of her teachers, or in the office helping the admin staff, or with the Link Crew helping a freshman. No matter what the situation, her positive attitude is “infectious,” according to Bellinger.

“She’s somebody who’s not just committed to cheerleading, she’s committed to the school,” the coach said. “She’s always working hard, she’s always early, she’s always giving 110 percent.”

After graduation, Knowlden plans to attend college in Colorado and study nursing. She would like to pursue collegiate cheerleading, but it would have to be the right opportunity. Until then, however, she is looking forward to a successful senior year and seeing her faith in her sport and her team pay off

“It’s something I really enjoy,” she said of her reasons for sticking with the program. “It makes me happy, and I have never considered leaving the team.”


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