Tigers and Wildcats look to defend their crowns at state

Taos 1 of 9 dance teams in Class 4A invading Dreamstyle Arena for showcase event

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Taos Tigers cheer

On the hunt for her fifth straight state title, Coach Lisa Abeyta-Valerio will lead her Taos Tigers spirit squad down the famous ramp of Dreamstyle Arena, aka "The Pit," at the 2018 State Spirit Championships Friday and Saturday (March 23-24).

Coming off a convincing win with a pair of flawless performances last year, the Tigers look to retain the Class 4A crown they've owned since 2014. Taos will perform their "game day" cheer Friday (March 23) at 1 p.m. and their "cheer with music" routine on Saturday (March 24) at 12:55 p.m.

A cumulative score of the two presentations determines the team winner.

In last year's event, Taos jumped out to a 4-point lead in the first day of competition, scoring 92.60 points with their game day routine. The Tigers garnered an additional 84.78 points on the second day for the wire-to-wire victory.

Coming in second and third for the third year in a row were the Portales Rams cheer and Hope Christian Huskies cheer, respectively. This year, Portales will be competing in the "co-ed" division, so Taos' most ardent competitor will be in a different category.

Tiger Classics dance

Accompanying cheer, the Taos Tigers Classics dance team will be vying for the school's first state title in this sport. In 2017, the Classics finished fourth behind Hope Christian (first), St Michael's (second) and Sandia Prep (third). It was the second straight year Taos earned a fourth place, the two best finishes for Coach Maria Jeantete and her ever-improving dance squads.

Of all the local teams attending the event, the Classics face the largest number of competitors. Along with the top three teams mentioned, Raton, Robertson, Thoreau, Silver, Tularosa and West Las Vegas will also field dance teams in Taos' category (A-4A).

Taos will be on the Pit floor to perform their dance "pom" routine at 9:40 a.m. on Friday (March 23). The Classics return to center stage Saturday (March 24) at 8:55 a.m. to showcase their "hip-hop" program.

Questa Wildcats cheer

Traveling to Albuquerque, too, will be the Questa Wildcats who will be on a quest to defend their state title garnered in 2017: a first for the cheer team and only the second state title in any sport in the history of Questa High School. The Wildcats will take the floor at 12:25 p.m. Friday (March 23) and at 12:10 p.m. Saturday (March 24).

Last year, the Wildcats triumphed in the Class A-2A division by dominating the field from the moment they stepped onto the mat to their final somersault, garnering 157.44 total points in the two-day competition. The Lordsburg Mavericks came in second with 133.99 points, and the Magdalena Steers finished third with 124.93. Before last year's win, Questa had three second-place finishes and two third-places dating back to 2012, all under the guidance of Coach Kathy Gonzales.

Cost to enter the arena is $8 for adults, $5 for students, seniors and military personnel. Day passes are available for $12 that will allow fans to re-enter the arena who wish to leave. The final awards ceremony for all divisions and categories will occur at 5:55 p.m. Saturday (March 24).

Fans are reminded that the University of New Mexico will charge a $5 parking fee for all vehicles.

For those unable to attend the live performances, the National Federation of High School Sports will be streaming the entire event at nfhsnetwork.com. A subscription fee is charged to view the event.

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