The Ruidoso cheerleading team proved numbers don’t matter much when you’re in competition, bringing home a trophy from the state spirit event for the first time in 12 years.
It was a third-place trophy, but one that everyone involved was proud to have.
“Being an eight girl squad and winning this is accomplishment enough,” said Alex Romero, one of three seniors on the team. “I felt responsible for the team and how I am reflects on the other girls. I was nervous 100 percent on the inside, but I tried not to show it too much for the other girls.”
“This is probably the most gratifying experience since I’ve been coaching,” said coach Nancy Alvarado. “This shows you don’t really need a big group of girls, it’s the quality that you have on your team.”
Ruidoso – competing in the 3A division, earned a two-day score of 128.8 in the cheer competition to finish behind St. Michael’s and Hope Christian, two schools that have much larger participation in their programs.
“We tried not to watch the other teams,” said senior Sydney Werito. “Especially Friday, we were the first in our division. That gave us a little advantage.
“Hope Christian has been No. 1 for several years, and they have so many girls,” she added. “For us, this is a huge accomplishment. We showed the state that little Ruidoso still has it.”
Over two days, the Lady Warriors had to perform their best routines and get the crowd involved. That meant they had to be just as strong with their voices as their moves on the floor.
“Game day cheer was best for us,” Werito said. “Even though we were small, we sound way bigger than an eight girl squad. We couldn’t just use our voice, we had to use our whole body to project. Sometimes we just practiced yelling the cheers.”
A trophy – even third place – now gives incentive to the younger girls who are hoping to restore Ruidoso to the top of the cheerleading world in New Mexico.
“Today, girls were really excited that we won, and were asking if they could be on the team,” said freshman Leslie Nevarez. “I think this could grow to be something big.”