An entire year of work comes down to two days for New Mexico high school cheerleading squads. For the second time in three years, Texico had the best two days in Class 2A.
The school, which took its first cheerleading trophy in 2009, took top honors again at the state spirit competition in Albuquerque over the weekend. The team, coach Dayla Bass said, has placed in the top three in each of its last four years.
The spirit competition takes place over two days. The first day teams do a standard cheer. The second day is a cheer combined with a dance. Each event is scored by a three-judge panel.
“There are some technical elements you had to fulfill,” Bass said. “You also lose points for not following the NMAA rules.”
What makes the competition different from other activities, team captain Bethany Heaton said, is there is no direct competition with other squads, and there’s no chance for halftime adjustments.
“You only get your one shot,” said Heaton, a senior who was also on the 2009 championship team. “It’s not like a basketball game where you get three other quarters to catch up. You get your minute-and-a-half to show the judges what you have. There’s no redos or repeats.”
A judge can give a maximum score of 100, which Bass said she’s never seen. The top possible score is 600.
Texico scored 410 points, beating out Pecos and Tularosa with 401 points each. Pecos took second on a tiebreaker.
Hope Christian’s 527 in Class 3A was the highest score among any school.
There were six divisions — classifications 1A-5A, and a coed category for all schools.
Floyd, Fort Sumner and Melrose placed fourth through sixth, respectively, in Class 1A competition, while Clovis finished seventh in Class 5A.
Texico brought 19 of its 20 members, and was the biggest squad. Bass and Heaton felt the benefits outweighed the negatives.
“With a bigger squad, you can have more stunts and you can do more things,” Heaton said. “But it’s also more difficult to make all 20 girls do the same thing at the same time.”
Heaton said the team spends its summer learning the cheers they do during games. During the school year, it dedicates its practices to a state routine the school puts together at the beginning of the school year.
Bass said a solid core will come back next year, with just four seniors graduating.