Lovington cheerleaders win state title
Hobbs cheerleaders come home with second place finish
Lea County’s two largest high schools came home from last weekend’s state cheerleading contest with teams in the winning column.
Lovington’s cheerleaders won the state championship in the 5A category and Hobbs cheerleaders won second place in the 5A/6A co-ed category.
Krystie Arreola, Lovington cheerleaders coach, said Monday morning the members of her team are elated with the win.
“We were leading Friday night with 95.5 points out of a possible 100,” Arreola said. “And at Saturday’s competition, we got 79.4 points for a total of 174.9 points out of 200. This team is awesome.”
Brittanee McCleery, Hobbs cheerleaders coach, was no less pleased with her team.
“We were second out of 15 teams in our category,” McCleery said. “And this is just the third year that we have been back in competition after an eight year absence. We’re super proud. The whole arena was yelling for us.”
Because the Hobbs team has six male cheerleaders, it competed in the 6A co-ed division. Lovington, which has one male cheerleader, is not considered a co-ed team.
Under New Mexico Activities Association rules, a cheerleading team must have at least two male athletes before it enters the co-ed ranks.
The contest in both 5A and 6A categories is virtually the same. Before the teams left for the state competition, McCleery described a contest that requires what she called, “A Friday night routine. It’s game-based, like we were actually at a football game. It’s a three-minute performance.”
Arreola elaborated on what she called the “game-day performance.”
“We’ll have our cheerleaders on the mat and the announcer will say something like, ‘It’s third down and five to go,’ and the cheerleaders have to decide what cheer they are going to use to get the crowd going,” Arreola said. “We have three minutes for that part of the contest.”
The other parts of the contest involve tumbling, stunting, dancing, basing and chanting. The moves are accompanied by music, especially the schools’ fight songs.
Students involved in cheerleading are athletes under NMAA rules and their coaches must have earned coaching certification just as a football, basketball, baseball or the coach of any other sport must hold.
Arreola and McCleery said their teams support each other.
“We are super proud of Lovington and of the progress both teams have made in the past year. The kids love each other and want the other school to win in their category,” McCleery said.
Arreola said, “The Hobbs team came and yelled for us. There is no rivalry between these teams. We cheer for each other.”
Although the cheerleading season is technically over for both schools, the coaches are already thinking about next year and the role their teams will play as they cheer other teams on to victory. They are also planning for ways to recruit elementary and middle school students into cheer-leading at their respective schools.