Photography by Jackie Veliz
“Stunt and sideline are two different worlds,” Junior Gabi Malic said. “Stunt is a sport in which we play our own games, get our own jerseys, and can qualify for playoffs.” The Las Lomas Stunt Cheer program started in 2016. “When we first started we hadn’t had a single win that year,” Junior Captain Alisa Mineeva said. “The next year we had gotten two, and now we are only two weeks in and we already have three wins which is crazy. The team has grown tremendously and this season there is definitely lots to come.”
Preseason consists of intensive training and conditioning to ensure that the team is ready to compete: “To prepare for the season my teammates and I went to the gym four days a week and attended open gyms at encore gym for stunt,” Malic said. “We try to keep up our strength so we can be prepared for the difficult routines once the season starts,” Senior Captain Jaden Fisher said.
A typical practice consists of warmups, partner stunts, jumps, tumbling, pyramids, and running routines combining all of these skills. Each practice usually focuses on one of these specific parts of the game, so one day may focus on tumbling and the next on pyramids. To end each practice, the team does conditioning, which, “…helps us build our stamina and prevent injuries from happening which usually occur if someone in the stunt group gets too tired,” Mineeva said.
The team dynamic is very important to the team’s performance and comradery. “It is so important to have a good team dynamic when it comes to stunting because everyone needs to trust one another,” Mineeva said. “The team is really what makes the sport at the end of the day, and the people on LL stunt are all so amazing and talented,” Sophomore Emily Hitomi said.
A challenge that teammates face when forming a strong team bond is the competition within the team itself. “You’re not only competing against other teams, but you’re competing against your own teammates to make mat and that doesn’t make it easy to get along,” Malic said. “However, we’ve all been competing together for three years now and have built such a strong bond and dynamic that it’s easy to get over the small stuff.”
“The team this year is extremely strong… it is possible for us to make it to the playoffs this year which is very exciting,” Mineeva said. “Coming from last year, we regarded College Park as our rival,” Fisher said. “This year I think we will bring some of that with us again when we play them next.”