ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The State Spirit Championships took a detour the past couple of years to Rio Rancho, but the immensely popular event – one of the major moneymaking tournaments for the New Mexico Activities Association – is back at the Pit this year.
Scores of cheer and dance squads will converge on the Pit for the two-day competition, which begins today.
The first performance begins at 9 a.m.
Dance squads will have the first of two routines from 9 a.m.-12:20 p.m., with another routine Saturday.
The cheerleading squads take over the floor of the Pit a little after 12:30 this afternoon. Each of the five classes will have their turn, with 4A the largest group. There are also coed cheer divisions for Class 1A-3A and Class 4A-5A.
The second batch of dance routines begins at 8:30 Saturday morning.
The program calls for alternating dance and cheer routines most of the day.
The 5A cheer competition runs until 4:45 p.m. Saturday, the 4A cheer until 5:30.
The coed cheer squads are the last performers of the weekend, going until 6:15 p.m.
Champions will be determined by combining the scores of the two routines.
After performances by the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University cheer and dance squads, there will be an awards ceremony at 6:50 p.m. Saturday.
The defending cheerleading champions are Gateway Christian (1A), Pecos (2A), Hope Christian (3A), Roswell (4A) and Cleveland (5A).
Hot Springs won the coed 1A-3A crown last year, with Las Cruces taking the 4A-5A title.
Gallup Catholic (1A-2A), St. Michael’s (3A), Roswell (4A) and Valley (5A) are the defending dance/drill state champions.
GUIDELINES: The cheer squads will do one routine with music, one without. The daily score for each is the average of the five judges’ scores, minus deductions.
The dance/drill teams must do a “pom” routine, as well as one of the following: military, jazz or hip-hop.