The University of New Mexico spirit program traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida to compete against cheer and dance teams from around the nation at the 2022 UCA & UDA College National Championship, which took place from Jan. 14-16.

At nationals, UNM's all-girl cheer team ranked fifth out of 10 teams with an event score of 91.4833 in the All-Girl Division 1A Game Day category. They placed last at sixth in the finals with an overall score of 87.05.

Meanwhile, coed cheer ranked 15th out of 17 teams under their Division 1A Game Day category, achieving an event score of 82.6667. In the Small Coed Division 1A category, coed cheer ranked No. 10 out of 11 with an event score of 65.55. They had the highest amount of deducted points in the division with 12.25 deducted from their raw score of 77.8.



Dance ranked No. 21 out of 22 teams in their respective Division 1A Game Day category with an overall score of 79.8667. They also ranked last in Division 1A Jazz at No. 28 with an event score of 82.7826.

Although dance didn’t make finals, coach Stepanie Reyes wrote to the Daily Lobo that the girls watched the teams that did and they felt “really inspired and can’t wait to get home and prepare for next year.”

“It’s just been an honor to work with each of them, and to see their dedication and their drive. They work so hard, and they go through so much to get here, and it’s physically and mentally taxing and demanding,” coach Robbie Rodriguez said.

The decision to send the Spirit Program to nationals was a conversation had before the season even started in July, according to Rodriguez. Once the coaches knew the teams were dedicated enough to attend, they started prepping.

“UCA & UDA College Spirit Camps have a proven reputation of helping teams at all skill levels develop positive fan behavior and good sportsmanship practices for Game Day, while practicing safe but innovative, crowd-oriented material,” the press release for the event read.

This year, the Spirit Program practices have been following strict COVID-19 precautionary measures with masks required at all times when indoors as well as COVID tests required after school breaks. The team upheld the same safety standards that UNM requires while on their Florida trip as well.

“We have talked to our athletes at length about, ‘Yes, we’re going to a state where their restrictions are not the same as ours, but we are still representing New Mexico and we are representing our university and we are still going to hold ourselves to that standard whether we’re in New Mexico or not,’” Rodriguez said.

The Spirit Program will continue performing for the rest of the basketball season and are looking forward to their biggest promotional event, the UNM Spirit Invitational, on Saturday, Jan. 29.

Megan Gleason is the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at editorinchief@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @fabflutist2716