Welcome to our new web site!

To give our readers a chance to experience all that our new website has to offer, we have made all content freely avaiable, through October 1, 2018.

During this time, print and digital subscribers will not need to log in to view our stories or e-editions.

Organ Mountain cheer squad takes crown


The Organ Mountain Cheer squad was crowned the 2024 Class 5A Co-Ed State Champions on April 6 — the school’s first cheer state title since 2018. 

Head coach Jordan Sanchez said her goal for her team during the state competition was just to have her team feel great after their two performances. She didn’t want them to worry about the points or what place they were in, but to just feel confident after their routines. 

“When our name was called, it was really like, oh my God, we did it, these kids did it,” Sanchez said when explaining how it felt when her team was announced as the state champions. 

Cheer captains Naomi Madrid and Nevaeh Holguin said when the second place team was announced they had almost lost hope that they would be state champions. Both said they saw Albuquerque High get excited and ready to run out onto the mat to accept the state champion trophy. Madrid said some of their teammates even started packing up, thinking that their team didn't place.

“…and they called us, and we all started crying and it was the best feeling ever and something we won’t forget,” Holguin said.

In years past at state, teams would perform both routines (game day and cheer with music) in a span of two days — known as the day one routine and day two routine. Since the covid year of 2020, the NMAA decided that teams would now perform both routines in one day with a break in between. 

Before the state competition, the Knights competed in four other cheer events, placing first in both routines in three of those and finishing second in the other. Their competition season accolades included six first-place trophies, two runner-up trophies and collecting three grand champions. 

In Sanchez’s first three seasons as head coach, her teams placed first in all of their competitions minus the state competitions. This season was the first time a team of hers placed second in an event that wasn’t state. 

Madrid and Holguin said that adversity of getting second place for the first time in four years pushed them to be better, saying that during practices they put the second-place trophy in front of them to motivate themselves to not finish second again. 

They also said that this year’s team was disciplined when it came to their individual and team goals. Holguin said in past years they would choreograph a difficult routine and “water it down” to make it easier, this year they stuck with the original routine and cleaned up areas where they needed improvement. 

Both captains and Sanchez said most people aren’t familiar with cheer, or the wear and tear it has physically and mentally on the athletes. 

“I guess one stereotype is that they don’t believe that we're a sport, but these kids really do put their bodies through hell,” Sanchez said. “Doing things that other people can’t do. They do the unthinkable. They do the impossible.” 

The head coach noted that cheer is a year-round sport. Summer consists of practices ahead of football season and sometimes cheer camps. They cheer at football and basketball games and finally, when competition season arrives, they practice four days a week to prepare for that. Weekends are usually busy as well, with games or community events where they occasionally perform. 

Holguin and Madrid said it’s a lot on their bodies, but after cheering for four years in high school they feel their bodies are used to it. Nevertheless, they still do all they can to prepare and refuel themselves. Some of those activities include a ton of stretching and warming up, icing their body parts, even physical therapy. 

This year’s Knights’ competition team consisted of three freshmen, five sophomores, 13 juniors and five seniors.  

The 2024 Organ Mountain co-ed cheer team made history this season, carving their names into the lists of state championships in New Mexico. The athletes and coaching staff will have a well deserved break after this weekend.

Organ Mountain High School will have one more performance open to the public on Saturday, at the Las Cruces downtown plaza during the ¡Mira! Las Cruces festival at 2 p.m.

Sanchez said the team will then have a month off before getting back at it, looking to repeat as state champions. 

2024 Class 5A Co-Ed State Champions, Organ Mountain Cheer squad