Courtesy of NMSU
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The New Mexico State cheer team swept the 21st Annual USA Collegiate Cheerleading and Dance Championships held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif., March 21-22.
The Aggies took first place in partner stunts, first place in Division I large coed competition and first in the mascot division. NM State also had a second place finish in partner stunts. Head coach Jessica Covington knew this would eventually happen for the Aggie cheerleaders with all the hard work the team has been putting in over the years.
“This win was really a culmination of the last seven years that I have been the head coach at New Mexico State,” said Covington. “We have always come very close, usually placing in the top three, but we never won it until this week. The team we had this year really was the dream team. It is made up of mostly freshman, with a few great seniors and an incredible coaching staff.”
Assistant coaches, Kassie Ckodre and Mario Loredo cheered at NM State during the first four years of Covington’s tenure and Covington credits them with helping the program to grow the way it has.
First year stand outs in partner stunts were junior Frank Molina and freshman Adrianna Martinez who placed first. Placing second in the partner stunt division was Zach Sterling who teamed up with sophomore Hannah Hudson.
In the large coed team division the Aggies used 31 student-athletes in the competition and the team was able to hit two perfect routines.
“Since we were ranked first after the day one of performance we knew all we had to do in day two was to hit it to win it,” said Covington. “We had many stand outs on this team this year, including our seniors, Lisa Lopez-Granado, Devin Galligan & Sammy Garcia, showing both skill and leadership for the team.”
Covington recalls how the team has evolved over the years due to recruiting and the NM State Cheer reputation becoming stronger within the collegiate cheerleading community.
“Everyone on this team is every bit as important as the next. That is why we all love this sport so much because you truly have to become a family in order to, not just win, but win big,” Covington reiterated. “We always took the motto that we are always only against ourselves and ‘this time is our time.’”
The Pistol Pete’s, sophomore Jordan Johnson and John Smith, placed second after the first day of competition but fought through and took the judges feedback, along with placing trust in their coaches to push forward and clinch the win on the final day.
“The mascots did a fantastic job and we are really proud to be Aggies,” said Covington.
The Aggie Cheer team not only performs at games, but also does quite a bit of community service by making appearances all over the state, as well as competing in competitions such as this one. The team also puts on clinics for aspiring cheerleaders throughout the year.