The new sport in town

Cheering for cheer
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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Billed as the fastest growing female sport in the country, Stunt, or Competitive Cheer, is now officially recognized by the California Interscholastic Federation.

Stunt, administered by USA Cheer, has been going strong in the United States for about six years. Three CIF sections now compete in stunt: Southern, Sac-Joaquin and North Coast.

The Sac-Joaquin Section leagues are Capital Athletic, Capital Valley Conference and Sierra Foothill. The Capital Athletic is a combination of two three-team leagues that includes Lincoln High School.

“We knew this was going to be something coming for new female athletes so we wanted to get ahead of it,” said Lincoln stunt adviser Marina Setzer. “I feel it’s going to be great for Lincoln; great for the female athletes out there, so we just really wanted to push it and keep it going.”

Stunt is performed over four quarters, like football or basketball, but not timed. The length of a quarter depends on the number of routines performed during that period. Each quarter consists of four routines, except the fourth. The fourth has three routines consisting of three exercises each.

Each routine has a specific count and is judged on how well a team maintains and executes that count during the exercise. Each count represents one segment of the routine, such as a jump, tumble, feet in the air, hands hitting the mat, lifting, etc.

Teammates on the sidelines call out the numbers assigned to each routine to help keep the performers in synch.

The first quarter features four synchronized routines selected from six levels of difficulty. No. 1 considered the easiest and No. 6 the most difficult.

A coin toss begins the competition and the winner selects the first routine. Afterward, the winner of each routine receives a point and selects the next routine.

Up to three groups from each team are on the floor at the same time. Both teams perform simultaneously and are judged on how they compare during the performance.

The second quarter features pyramids, with a halftime break following.

The third quarter calls for jumping and tumbling and the fourth is a combination of the first three quarters – a virtual marathon.

Points are awarded for each of the three exercises per routine, with nine points available in all.

The postseason section playoffs will include the winner of each league, beginning April 28. The section champions are then invited to the State Championship May 4 at California State University Sacramento.