Longtime coach Marlene Barela has been hired to coach the cheer program at Los Lunas High School.
“It was the only school I was interested in,” Barela said. “I’ve been waiting for Los Lunas to have a position open at least for the last four years,” since she moved to Los Lunas.
The position at LLHS opened when Aysha Armijo resigned this spring.
Barela started coaching cheer in Colorado around 2005 and has been in charge of programs in New Mexico at Menaul, Del Norte, St. Pius and YAFL.
Barela says cheerleading is a good compliment to her job as an explosive technologist at Sandia National Labs.
“I blow things up for a living,” is how Barela describes her job.
Barela retired from coaching during the pandemic, but was anxious to return.
“I love it. I just love it — I have this passion for cheer. It won’t go away,” she said. “I can’t get rid of it.”
That passion includes the creativity, music, choreography and stunts, “but mostly I really love the kids. That’s the reason I keep going back.”
Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.