July 22, 2011
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
It was a summer camp of teaching, learning and sharing of ideas. It was a camp that emphasized safety and proper technique. It was an intense, four-day gathering designed to build chemistry and bonding within newly formed spirit programs facing the long stretch of the 2011-12 seasons.
And for the University of New Mexico Spirit Program, headed by Tracy Denton, the camp held July 15-18 at Texas State University was a camp that featured a happy ending.
The Lobos' mascot skit was a clever twist on an old tale. It was a role reversal of "The Three Little Pigs." In this skit, the Lobos were hiding inside their homes and a nasty pig was huffing and puffing. If the ending of the skit was anything like the original fairy tale, the Lobos were eating pork chops at the conclusion.
"The camp is more an instructional seminar for spirit programs and coaches," said Denton. "But you also learn routines at the camp and then you perform in front of judges. It's not a high level of competition, but the teams take it seriously and they want to win."
The UNM all-girl cheer team obviously was "on" in the camp held on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos, Texas. The UNM team learned its routines at the camp and then had to compete against other teams that also learned routines at the camp.
So, it was learn quickly and perform well.
The UNM dance team competed with a routine they had pieced together prior to the 13-hour bus ride to San Marcos.
"You learn everything from new ideas to new skills to new game-day activities," said Denton. "The training helps teams improve their level of performance. It's a total training environment.
"The camp is a great way to start the year and it's a great way for them to get to know each other and come together as a team. We get to see where our level of performance is and what we need to work on. This camp helps us to quickly become focused on what we need to do."
Denton, a Lobo cheerleader from 1992-96, has been a coach with the UNM Spirit Program since 1996. She became the coordinator in June of 2008. The mission of the program is to support the university and its athletic teams, but also to branch out into the community as representatives of UNM.
Denton said team bonding and team chemistry are as important to her team as they are for any UNM team.
"Some of the best teams I've ever coached maybe haven't been the most talented, but they have been teams that get along and care about each other," she said. "Those types of groups want to be good and they like to work together."
"This group had a great camp and obviously performed well, but the best part of the trip for me was being around so many kids who were respectful and appreciative of this opportunity."
The teams participating in the camp at Texas State were: University of Texas, Texas A&M, University of Oklahoma, Baylor University, Angelo State, Concordia University-Texas, East Central University, Howard College, Lamar University, McMurray University, Midland College, Midwestern State University, Nicholls State University, St. Edwards University, St. Mary's University, Texas A&M-Corpus Christy, Texas Southern University, Texas State, Texas Wesleyan University, University of Louisiana at Monroe, University of New Orleans, University of Texas-Tyler, Western Oklahoma State, , Dallas Baptist University and Northwestern State.