Stunt popularity raves in higher attendance for matches


Julia Leveron Hidalgo

Stunt athletes chant in a huddle before the stunt match against Rocklin, March 28. “Starting the match, I felt really hype. I was really pumped up to take on Rocklin, especially to come back from losing to them earlier this month. During the match, I really tried to keep my head held high and to stay confident and humble in my skills,” Julia Muldong said. The team won against the Thunder 15-13. Photo by Julia Leveron Hidalgo.

As a member on stunt, Sloan Quinzon chants before a match against their rivals the Rocklin Thunder.  As the big gym was packed the energy was high and tense.  The team gathered into a circle away from the audience in the stands, to amp up the team’s energy and confidence. With a pep talk followed by a chant, Quinzon along with her team get into the right mindset to continue their game.

Stunt is an emerging NCAA competitive team sport rooted in traditional cheerleading. While using the technical and athletic components of cheerleading, two teams go head to head to compete in which team perfects the routine better. Stunt is currently the fastest growing female sport in the United States. Stunt has been a part of campus athletics since 2017. While there are coed leagues, the team is an all-women’s one. Any female student who has any tumbling, cheerleading or gymnastics experience or interest is eligible to try out.

 “While I love the sport of stunt, watching the athletes challenge themselves, push through adversity, and grow into the incredible young people I get to work with is the best part. The most challenging part of stunt is finding ways to keep the team bonded and working together,” Coach Phillipa Jimose said. “Stunt is all about stunting, tumbling and jumps. For tumbling and jumps, athletes can work independently but for the stunting side you can’t develop on your own. You always need three other people.” 

All teams in the league learn the provided 18 routines. There are three categories including partner stunts, pyramids and tosses, and jumps and tumbling. There are six levels for each category. Each match consists of 21 total performed routines. The first quarter performs a partner stunt routine. The second quarter is for pyramids and basket tosses. While the third quarter is jumps and tumbling. To end, the fourth quarter consists of stunt teams performing partner stunts, jumps and tumbling, finally pyramids in tosses in that order of the picked level by the team in the lead.

“The most challenging part of stunt for me is going every day back-to back, especially [with] injuries and sickness, still pushing to do your best, even with all of that we all want to make it far, especially me because it’s my senior year. We want to go far because we won’t get another chance to do something like this again,” Alison Houck said.

In other sports, a missing athlete could be easily replaced. While in stunt, a missing athlete causes a load of stress and problem solving skills to find alternates for each empty position. Partner stunts consist of three members in a triangle position supporting another member in the air, mainly by their feet. Under the flyer which is a member in the air, there are two bases that primarily hold the flyers feet. A backspot who primarily holds the flyers ankles and thigh. While pyramid stunts are similar to partner stunts, pyramid stunts consist of flyers holding each others arms or hands to support one an other in turns, flips or for visual appeal. 

“My favorite part of stunt is the team aspect when we hit a new skill and we all celebrate at the end and everyone’s just so happy. We’re all close – the team is really good  and we [have] all included each other,” Brittney Flower said.

Many of the members on stunt have worked together in another form of cheerleading, creating the team bond much stronger than other sports teams. 

“Though many people who do stunt have had a prior experience, that shouldn’t stop you from trying it out. It challenges everyone, you get to create so many fun experiences, get to meet so many people and get to create so many friendships. It’s really exciting, it’s really fun,” Sophia Martin said.

56% of members on varsity cheer, 30% of JV cheer, and 10% of frosh/soph cheer are currently on the stunt team. All members on stunt have prior cheerleading experience along with tumbling. 

 “My favorite part of stunt is being able to feel like a family and experience the wins and losses together,” Alison Dore said.

The team has a symbol for how they would like to conquer the season. This year’s symbol is a turtle, in which they named Theodore. The players hold it throughout the match and celebrate with it.

Coach Jimosse said, “I love picking the symbol of the team each year. This year it is Theo the Turtle, who stands for the idea that great undertakings are accomplished by completing one small action at a time. Stunt is all about the small actions and take things slow.”