Stunt Team emerges from Cheer program as CIF sport

George Wang, Staff writer

Starting this spring, Walnut’s Stunt Team will compete for the first time after the program’s inception two years ago in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).

According to Stunt Team coach Jennifer Koury, the purpose of creating a separate program dedicated to stunt competitions is to recognize cheerleaders as student-athletes and to allow them to participate in and compete against other schools for the CIF division championships.

“We’re bringing a new [sport] here to Walnut. It just allows the kids to [be] more excited that they’re involved [in] a sport with other schools competing with them,” Koury said.

The school offers three programs: sideline cheer, Competition Team and Stunt Team. Competition Team includes jumps, dances and stunts, all incorporated into two minutes and 30 seconds of performance time. Additionally, Competition Team cheerleaders darn the typical skirts and bows. Meanwhile, the Stunt Team performs a series of jumps, tumbling stunts and pyramid formations in jerseys and shorts. Schools compete and are judged for the cleanliness and sharpness of their performance. Those that achieve the most points win the division championship.

“Everything’s pretty new to me because we’ve never done this before,” co-captain senior Katlin Yu said. “We’re trying to practice our skills and hone them so that we can compete with other schools. It’s more [of] the techniques that the judges are looking for so we have to change things up for Stunt [Team].”

Yet there is another difference between the two, as the Competition Team is given the freedom to perform original choreography. This is not the case for Stunt Team, which is a part of the Hacienda League and performs a routine assigned by the United Spirit Association. Everyone will follow the same guidelines according to the association, including the music.

“My goal as a competitor is to create a legacy for the future stunt teams. As a senior, I really want to make sure that this year is a great year for the girls and that we end off the season knowing that we’ve achieved a lot for our first year,” co-captain senior Jayden Rabanal said.

The team practices every week after school until 5:30 p.m. The first tournament will be Tuesday, March 14 and the season will conclude with a final tournament on Thursday, April 20 at Walnut High School.

“Being the first time out there competing, we don’t know what to expect, but we’re going in 100 percent with everything that we’ve trained the girls, and then we’ll learn from this year,” Koury said. “We’re just super excited about this, not just for us cheerleaders here at Walnut, but for cheerleaders as a whole. It’s going to be a lot of work, but we’re [going to] do it.”