By: Marcus Royo
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (March 16)–The New Mexico State cheerleading team traveled to Anaheim, Calif., and left with some top finishes in the USA Collegiate Nationals, Feb. 26-27.
The Aggie cheerleading team competed in the small and large coed divisions, as well as the partner stunts and mascot divisions. Aggie mascot Pistol Pete and the partner stunts both placed second in their respective categories.
According to cheerleading head coach Jessica Franklin, this is NM State’s third year competing at the USA Nationals in
“Getting to nationals was half the battle,” she said. “Once we get in competition mode, things get very intense.”
“Being a new team, we’ve made leaps and bounds,”
Kassie Hernandez and Mario Loredo made up the partner stunts team that placed second at USA Nationals. Hernandez described the weeks leading up to the competition as very intense.
“We have practice every day,” Hernandez said. “We still have to go home and do homework, because we are student-athletes. We get frustrated.”
When the Aggie cheer squad finally arrived in
“We were all pretty excited,” Hernandez said. “The moment we had been working for had finally arrived. It was a do or die moment.”
Pistol Pete, played by Ricky Rascon, competed in the mascot division at the USA Nationals. In a routine that differs from the cheer squad’s, he ended up placing second.
“I had to put together a two-minute skit,” Rascon said. “It had to be funny, energetic and entertain the crowd. The past few months were pretty hectic. I had to make the music, I had to make the props, and I pulled a few all nighters.”
Anyone who has been to an Aggie sporting event knows that Pistol Pete is there to entertain and evoke school spirit.
“You just got to grab a hold of something the older crowd and younger crowd will relate to and make them laugh,” Rascon said. “Go up and interact with them personally.”
The NM State cheerleaders perform at all Aggie football, basketball and volleyball home games, as well as many university and community appearances.