Home Sports Hobbs, Lovington, Tatum notch first-place finishes at competition

Hobbs, Lovington, Tatum notch first-place finishes at competition

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Three cheers!

Hobbs, Lovington, Tatum notch first-place finishes at competition

PETER STEIN/NEWS-SUN

Anyone who thinks cheerleading hasn’t evolved light years from the rah-rah-red-kick-’em-in-the-head days might have been surprised to watch Saturday’s multi-team cheer competition at the Lea County Event Center in Hobbs.

Surprised at all the different types of competitions, at how much more co-ed the sport has become, how much more skill and athleticism and even dancing ability is involved.

It’s a lot of training and then some. Sure, there’s still plenty of stomping and clapping, jumping and flipping, but there is so much more the cheer athletes have to learn and master.

So, credit should go to the teams that participated in Saturday’s competition, and even more credit to the teams that earned first-place trophies.

Perhaps the most credit of all must go to the Lovington cheer team that successfully defended its district title.

“It’s our third straight time to win a district championship,” Wildcats head coach Olivia Amundsen said. “Our kids worked so hard. It’s a precursor to state, it gets our kids pumped up to go out and win the big one.”

While a state championship may be the biggest one of all, Lovington won a few big ones on Saturday. Aside from securing their district championship three-peat, the Wildcats took home first-place trophies in the 4A Varsity Co-Ed Game Day and Varsity Co-Ed Cheer With Music categories.

The Eagles, who co-hosted Saturday’s inaugural event with Lovington, also brought home some hardware. Hobbs won the same Varsity Co-Ed Game Day and Varsity Co-Ed Cheer With Music categories as Lovington, but in 5A.

“Oh, it’s amazing,” Hobbs head coach Cassey Sudweeks said. “We were so pumped up. Everybody did great today.”

A big crowd packed the Lea County Event Center stands to watch their friends and family compete in the six-hour competition. Among the fans were Hobbs basketball stars Bhret Clay, Kyndle Cunningham and Brynn Hargrove, who all put the sneaker on the other foot by coming out to cheer for the squad that normally cheers for them.

What fans in the crowd might not have seen was all that went into making those routines sparkle, all that went into getting them polished enough for competition.

“There is a ton of work involved,” Sudweeks said. “We start in August and pretty much practice five days a week from then until now.”

“We practice six days a week,” Amundsen said, “and we stay in the gym until 8 o’clock at night. These kids have a work ethic like I’ve never seen.”

Hobbs and Lovington weren’t the only local teams to win first place on Saturday. Tatum earned that top spot in the 2A Varsity Cheer With Music competition. Eunice was second in that event.

The Coyotes placed second to Texico in the 2A Varsity Game Day competition, with Eunice taking third.

Hobbs JV finished second behind Artesia JV in the Junior Varsity Game Day competition.

Hobbs’ middle school team took third place in the Middle School Game Day competition, behind first-place Taylor and second-place Berrendo.

The varsity Eagles and Wildcats are focused on upcoming state-tournament competition, as each will try to keep championship streaks alive. Lovington is vying for a sixth consecutive state 4A title while Hobbs tries to win its fourth straight 5A championship.

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