Before the threat of the COVID-19 virus, which caused the ban of spectators at all high school sporting events, the Magdalena Steers cheerleading squad performed at the PIT in Albuquerque in front of fans during the ‘Half-Time Hoorah’, a competition scheduled throughout the regular season.
“This competition is for us to get our feet wet,” Head Coach Jesse Otero said. “It will be a state competition put on by the NMAA here at the PIT which the girls are very excited for. This is the first year we’ve tried this because it’s an easy in out for the team. We get our results by the end of the week and I have always wanted for our girls to try this.”
The Lady Steers put on a game day style performance which simulates football game style cheering that will be taken into the 2020 NMAA State Championships which included a one minute long band dance performance. The announcer at the arena puts on a cue which is when the Lady Steers are brought on stage to perform with a one minute cheer and one minute fight song.
Anissa Ritter is an assistant coach with the Steers cheer squad. Having taught for more than 11 years in mostly elementary areas and special education, she came into this year at Magdalena teaching middle school history. This marks her first year as a coach in any type of sporting area. Her daughter Liliana Vega is a member of the team which is how Ritter got involved.
“At the beginning of the school year Jory Mirabal asked if I would be interested in coaching,” she said. “I took on that challenge and it has been so much fun. These kids put their heart and soul into everything that they do. They are like family and watching them from the beginning of the season until now they have improved so much and we are all so proud of them. I have never experienced anything like this and it has rekindled my love of teaching.”
Once the squad finished its routine, Coach Otero was very pleased with the way in which the girls performed on the big stage.
“It’s kind of weird to be up here on a Tuesday,” she said. “Our girls played this morning and our boys play later. That is what has held me back in the past because it is kind of a weird schedule. All of our other competitions have been at high schools, so being at a big arena like this can be intimidating. We give and give all season long and our hearts are here to support our local teams and for a bit our girls get a chance to shine. These days are great because it is their time to shine.”
The State Championship is scheduled for March 27-28. Friday is the skill day and Saturday is the skills championship, titled “Cheer With Music”, in which teams are allotted 2:30 of playing time to throw in as many skills and stunts they have available. It is still unclear if that event will take place due to the COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine measures currently taking place.