Eighteen cheerleading squads are teaming together to perform an opening dance during the Lakota Nation Invitational. The students had three hours to learn a group routine this year. The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology cheer team helped prepped the high schoolers and are joining in their performance.
One Hundred and thirty cheerleaders are practicing for the pre-cheer competition dance.
Seven School of Mines cheerleaders volunteered to choregraph the performance. They count steps and help hold high schoolers in in the air.
Donte Trujillo is a student at Todd County High School on the Rosebud Reservation. This is the 17 year old’s fourth year cheering.
“There’s always been a dance routine or a competition. For Todd County, we’re a stunting school. Stunt means we’re used to like putting up girls and throwing them or flipping them in the air. Doing a dance routine in three to four minutes is not really difficult because we’ve always been doing it.”
The dance lasts about three and a half minutes. Trujillo says this is his second year doing the opening number.
“I’m just really pumped and happy to get this going and get along with all the other schools.”
After the opening exhibition, the cheer competition starts. The teams compete for 22 all tournament cheerleading awards, sportsmanship and dance competition awards. Trujillo is hoping to take home an award for his final year on the squad.
“I can’t freekin’ wait. So actually my freshman year we won. That was the first time we’ve won since 2010. So freshman year, sophomore year. We didn’t win junior year, that was last year. So this year, I know we got this. We got this.”
The cheer competition is scheduled for Saturday, the final day of the LNI. Trujillo says this is what they’ve been practicing for.
“I’m really exhausted right now but that’s okay. I’m just excited for Saturday to do this cheer competition.”
The School of Mines cheer team is also helping judge the cheer competition.