UTEP Spirit hosts local cheer championship


Jasmin Campoya

UTEP hosted their 15th annual cheer championship on Sunday, Feb. 19.

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Sports Editor

UTEP Cheerleading hosted dozens of cheer squads from all over El Paso to compete in the fifteenth annual UTEP Cheerleading Championship Sunday Feb. 19 at the Don Haskins Center. The event was managed by Director of Spirit Operations Head Cheerleading Coach Bianca Marquez. 

The event was split into two sessions. The first half of the morning session hosted young non-school affiliated teams with divisions split between different ages. The latter half of the morning session allowed individual cheerleaders to showcase their talent. The divisions consisted of Youth K-3, Elementary 4-6, Middle School 7-8 and High School 9-12. 

The competition was judged by an experience panel that consisted of Savanna Sibley, Alexandra White and Lora Solis. Sibley was the head coach of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) Cheerleaders for five years. Sibley also cheered for UNLV in 2005 and then transferred to HPU after being offered a cheer scholarship. White cheered also cheered at UNLV from 2007-2012 and then immediately started coaching the Rebels while she was in grad school. White took over as the head coach at UNLV and won two National Championships. Solis coached at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley where she became the Head Cheer & Mascot Coach and Assistant Dance Coach for 10 years. 

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  • The Triple Threat cheer team stunts their flyers to amaze the judges.

  • The Texas Bandits cheer team prepares to begin their routine for the UTEP Cheer Championships.

  • Cheer teams all around El Paso competed on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the UTEP Cheer Championships.

  • Paydirt Pete helps pass out awards to cheer teams all over El Paso.

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The afternoon session focused solely on teams from across the city. Both recreational leagues and school affiliated teams participated with categories spanning from elementary to high school with both mount and non-mount categories available for all the teams. Sprinkled throughout the day were exhibition performances where teams such as the Royal Rebels and the Texas Bandits showcased their skills to a packed Don Haskins Center. 

Abigail Estrada is a coach for the recreational team Triple Threat and spoke to the importance of cheer and its positive effects on students. 

“When we come to events like this, all of them see their friends,” Estrada said. “So, it brings all the community together that they see.” 

Marquez had a message for the parents and coaches regarding their support for their children. 

“Thank you everybody for supporting your children and your coaches,” Marquez said. “Thank you, parents, for your assistance, for your support for developing these young athletes. To all of you, future miners keep grinding and I hope to see you soon.” 

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is the sports editor and may be reached at [email protected]: @rivasemmanuel2 on Instagram.