Girls of STUNT flip their way to success

The sun beams on the girls as they run through their routine, every move perfected.  There is no room for error. Optimism and excitement electrify the air. The team exchanges glances, knowing that everyone is here to win.

This new and growing all-girl, varsity sport called STUNT is a form of competitive cheer and consists of various levels of jumps, tumbling and stunts.

In each game there are four quarters, “…separated by different skills such as partner stunts, jumps and tumbling, and pyramids. The last quarter we put all the skills together in one long routine,” Danni Krueger, senior and co-captain, said.

Partner stunts are two-person skills utilizing a base and a flyer, where the base supports all of the flyer’s weight. Common jumps include toe touches, hurdlers and pikes. Tumbling is any gymnastics or acrobatic skill that can be done on the ground. Pyramids consist of two or more connected stunt groups working together to execute one complex stunt.

Each game is scored according to the girls’ ability to stick to the pre-made routines of varying levels of difficulty. The results also depend on maintaining stability in stunts throughout their routine while being compared to another team performing simultaneously.

STUNT is an all inclusive sport and encourages those without previous cheer experience to join.

“I did (cheer) for about six years but I took a three year break… I decided to join STUNT because I felt like I was ready get back into cheer and stretch and get more flexible,” Aubrey Bradish, sophomore, said.

Co-captain Hannah Neiyer, sophomore, expressed her elation for the team’s future, saying, “I am having lots of fun with STUNT routines and I am really proud of how much my team has accomplished. I can not wait for our first game!”

Coach Carson Bute summarized how they were preparing the girls by saying,“We’re making sure they feel comfortable enough to go compete, really making sure they’re precise in their movements and they’re comfortable in performing certain stunts.”

One major difference between spirit cheer and STUNT is that STUNT is a college-level sport, which means the participants have paths previously unavailable for members of spirit cheer.

Coach Rachel Kling stated, “…I’ve been getting a ton of emails about giving out scholarships for this…(N)ow finally there’s a lot more opportunities for girls who do cheer to get scholarships and be on teams at the college level.”

This is the first year STUNT has been on campus, and both coaches were very eager to be part of the unique chance to possibly begin a new legacy in a sport they both love.

“I really wanted the girls to have the option to do (STUNT) and for us to experience what it’s like because the school hasn’t really competed with cheer yet. And we both come from competitive cheer backgrounds and we like to compete, so we wanted to let the girls have the experience,” Kling said.

STUNT also differs from spirit cheer in that it is an actual CIF-recognized sport. This includes competitions, jersey numbers and other aspects of a competitive sport not included in spirit cheer, where participants are there to support other sports teams.

Jenna Zager, junior, began cheer in eighth grade and continued through her sophomore year. She decided not to join the spirit cheer team this year because “it’s not as rewarding to cheer for another team; it’s more rewarding to be playing a sport.”

Although each girl has a different reason for joining the team, they can all agree that it has been a promising addition to their life.

Krueger said, “I have found STUNT to be a really positive environment where everyone wants to be here and is working hard so we can be a good and respectable team.”

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