First STUNT competition comes to Costa Mesa

Is cheer a sport? That is a widely debated question throughout the United States.

While critics may argue that the current format of cheerleading is more of an activity than a sport, there is a new sport on the horizon and cheer plays a main role in it. To help with the current NCAA Title IX, USA Cheer has developed a new sport to fit the Title IX requirements and it is called STUNT.

Across the nation, colleges and universities have begun competing in games in this new format. The game consists of four quarters and teams play opposing teams with specific routines that they perform simultaneously. The quarters are partner stunting, pyramids and tosses, jumps and tumbling, and then a home routine.

The focus is put on execution. In each quarter, there are winners for each round. The winners then earn a score and the scores are accumulated throughout the game.

While STUNT has been played at the collegiate level for the past two years it is now emerging at the high school level. Florida and Tennessee have already showcased it and it is quickly gaining interest.

This past Saturday, California hosted its first high school STUNT competition at the Varsity Brands Coaches Conference at the Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.

Costa Mesa High competed against San Clemente. In a very close game, the Mustangs came out victorious against the Tritons, winning 2-1. Competing on the Mustang STUNT team were Alyssa Dasca, Courtney Hatch, Megan Settles, Taylor Jones, Selena Arreola, Jordan Weir, Allie Ross and Alyssa Lopez.

As coach I was very proud to be a part of such an exciting new sport. To be one of the first two teams to compete in it in California was an honor.

I am so proud of how the girls learned the routines on such short notice and were confident to go in and compete against an incredible program like San Clemente.

We respect that team and its coach Irazmi Perez so much.

Irazmi and I are both officials for collegiate STUNT tournaments and of course jumped at the chance to help bring it to high schools in California.

Universal Cheerleading Assn. West Coast Regional Manager Laurie Harris hopes that high school STUNT in California will be able to start tournaments in the spring of 2013. Many of the coaches attending the educational conference were excited after seeing the exhibition at the conference and are eager to have their athletes become involved in it as well.

— Kori Johnson

EDITOR'S NOTE: Kori Johnson is the Costa Mesa High cheer coach and advisor.

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