New varsity sport added at Leesville

The LRHS Stunt team was started this season as part of a county initiative to expand varsity sports. Pictured here are stunt members working on their routines.The LRHS Stunt team was started this season as part of a county initiative to expand varsity sports. Pictured here are stunt members working on their routines.

This up and coming spring season, Leesville is adding another female varsity sport to their repertoire. STUNT, a more competitive and technical based version of cheerleading, focuses on the stunts and skill sets of cheerleading. Leesville’s new sport held tryouts March 7-9 and will jump into their first season hoping to create ground for themselves in the competitive field.

According to USA Cheer, “STUNT, the new competitive team sport derived from traditional cheerleading, removes the crowd-leading and focuses on the technical and the athletic components of cheer, which include the partner stunts, pyramids, basket tosses, jumps and tumbling skills.”

The competition aspect in STUNT is really what makes it different from cheerleading. Competition is separated in four quarters, all focused on different routines and components of cheer. Players are judged on their partner stunts, basket tosses, pyramids, group jumps and group tumbling in the four different quarters.

The schools competing across the nation are all asked and required to memorize and perfect the same routines for the competition. The team’s talent and execution of the routine decide whether or not they will be moving on in the competition.

Each winning routine earns teams one point, and with four rounds in each quarter, competitors are eligible to earn a total of sixteen points throughout the contest. Talent ranges anywhere from level 1-6.

STUNT is a relatively new sport appearing in high schools. Due to a portion of Wake County’s non-discrimination policy, Title IX, STUNT was added to create equal opportunities for men and women in athletics and activities in their school environment.

Noticing the existence of STUNT and it’s gaining popularity, Wake County jumped on the bandwagon. With the addition of a new women’s varsity sport, Wake County is able to provide more equal chances between genders.

Last year, 8 teams in the Wake County conference participated and competed in STUNT. This 2016 spring season, Leesville’s cheer department, lead by Coach Reathaford, have decided to join those teams.

Through not participating in STUNT last year, but rather watching from the sides, Reathaford got to observe and watch the sport in action and the benefits that it brought. STUNT affected cheerleaders enormously, allowing their skills to be improved.

“I see the benefit; it allows for many girls to get involved, regardless of their involvement in the actual cheer program at their school, coaches will be looking for more specialized athletes as opposed to the ‘all-around athlete’ that is sought after in traditional school cheerleading,” said Reathaford.

The effects of STUNT on a cheerleader reach further than just within the walls of their high school but can greatly contribute to the rest of a student’s career in cheerleading.

“Participating in STUNT allows the girls to build upon their skills, which better prepares them for college tryouts as they will have experience as both all girl and coed cheerleaders,” said Coach Reathaford.

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