The Inaugural Eagle Nation Spirit Fest was a big hit Saturday as Hobbs High School hosted its first cheerleading competition in Task-er Arena.
“There is a lot of planning that goes into it behind the scenes,” Hobbs cheer coach Brittanee McCleery said. “We have had this on the schedule for almost a year and it takes a while to get it planned and get teams here. But we got it planned and I think it went off OK.”
“It was really fun and really such an honor to be the first group of (Hobbs) seniors to have a competition hosted here,” Hobbs senior Madalyn Baxter added. “I really do want to thank our coaches for being so amazing and putting this on for us because it was a lot of hard work and I am so happy that we had the privilege to have a competition here in Hobbs.”
Lovington coach Krystie Arreola said her team enjoyed the Hobbs competition.
“This was a great experience,” Arreola said. “Hobbs of course put on a first class competition. It was very great to come and very exciting. The energy level was great, so we were happy to come our sister squad and return to their gym because they always come to ours.”
Tasker Arena was packed with parents and siblings and friends and family who came to watch their cheerleaders compete.
“Usually at our competitions are our parents and their family members,” McCleery said. “They do a really good job of supporting the kids. They come out and they come out in groups and they are usually really loud, just like they were today. It makes the kids feel good. They have kind of made a name for themselves so they get the support of other teams in the area, just like Lovington. (The Lady Wildcats) have a lot of support as well.”
Baxter said she, and her teammates, loved the support they got from all the fans in the stands on Saturday.
“(The support) means a lot to us,” Baxter said. “Cheer is really not an appreciated or recognized sport and we do work really, really hard, if not harder than a of the other teams here. I am just really thankful for all the support that we had today. It was really good.”
There were varsity and JV squads from Lovington, Dexter, Mayfield, and Roswell high schools as well as squads from Taylor Middle School, Clovis’ Gattis and Marshall Middle Schools, and Artesia Junior High.
Teams competed in everything from exhibition to game day cheer to dance to cheer with music. There were all-girl competitions as well as co-ed competitions.
Hobbs took home three first place awards. The Lady Eagles won Class 4A-5A co-ed Game Day, 4A-5A co-ed cheer with music, and were named Grand Champion in cheer.
“It was a great experience,” McCleery said. “It was great to show the Hobbs community and Lea County not just what we do, but what cheerleaders do and what it is about if they have never experienced this before.”
The only other schools from Lea County to enter the competition were Lovington High and Taylor Middle School and both schools brought home some hardware. Lovington finished second in 4A-5A All-Girl cheer with music while taking first place in the 4A-5A All-Girl Game Day.
“I felt like our team put out two good routines,” Arreola said. “Two solid routines on the floor. We always want to get better. Every week we strive to Fest. get better and so on Monday we are going to get right back on the mat and work some more.”
Taylor took home first place for middle school cheer with music. When Taylor was announced as the winner, Tasker Arena erupted with cheers and applause from all the Taylor Middle School fans in the stands.
Several other teams and squads took home a first place trophy. Dexter took first place in 1A-3A High School Game Day. The Clovis JV team placed first in both, Game Day cheer and Cheer with music. Roswell’s Charlie’s Angels won 4A-5A Dance Pom and 4A-5A Dance Jazz Military Hip-Hop. Charlie’s Angels also took home the Grand Champion for Dance.
Next up for the Hobbs cheerleaders is a trip to Artesia on Saturday followed by a competition in Lovington on March 2. Like Hobbs, Lovington will also be at the Artesia competition.
According to Baxter, the Lady Eagles success on Saturday, in front of their home fans, is only going to help the Hobbs cheerleaders as they continue to compete down the stretch.
“We have struggled at times, we had a few wobbles and everything, but I am really happy we hit it today,” Baxter said. “It really boosted up our confidence a lot and I think that everybody is ready now for what is next.”