Valencia County cheer squads have something to cheer about after the state competition.
Valencia High School cheerleading placed first at the New Mexico Spirit State Championship in the 4A class with 185.95 total points. Belen placed sixth in the 4A class, while Los Lunas came in at third place in the 4A co-ed cheerleading category.
“The most memorable part of the weekend was noting that the confidence I worked to instill in each athlete this season was very visible out on those nine mats,” said Valencia head coach Alexis Montano. “Knowing that I was able to make them believe in themselves and their teammates is more of a win for me than anything else.”
The Spirit State Championship was held in the Dreamstyle Arena at the University of New Mexico over the course of two days. On the first day, Valencia was neck-and-neck with Taos and Artesia. However, the Jaguars ran away with the top spot on the second day, eventually securing the state title. This was the Jaguars’ second state title in three years. They won it all in 2017, and in 2018, they placed second.
Montano credited the team’s unity and senior leadership for their success in 2019. This season’s team was more unified than teams in the past, she said, and they worked hard to reach their goals.
“We have 11 seniors on this team,” said Montano. “They really stepped up in the last couple weeks to help lead their teammates down a successful path. They are very knowledgeable in their own ways and worked well as one to teach to their strengths.”
Though that senior leadership will soon graduate, Montano believes the team will still be strong in 2020.
“Each year, we start over with a new team,” said Montano. “They will have the chance to set their goals for the season, and I will be more than happy to aid them in reaching them, as always.”