Stunt is a sport that may not get the love like some others, but don’t let it fool you, it’s as competitive as all the rest. There’s one program that has become the class of the sport on the Central Coast, Paso Robles High School.
Like in the song Started from the Bottom by rap artist Drake, Paso Robles started from the bottom and now they’re here.
“It’s just so amazing. I would have never thought we would come this far with this program starting three years ago,” senior captain Stephanie Cashmore said.
Paso Robles head cheer coach Tori Loney assembled the stunt team in 2017. It provided an opportunity for her cheerleaders, and any others interested, to take cheering to a more competitive level.
“Our stunt team has allowed our cheer team to flourish,” Loney said. “It’s allowed them to gain the respect of the other athletes, teachers, and the community on campus.”
But like any new program, the Bearcats had to adjust to something completely different.
Fellow senior captain Jeraly Escamilla described the moment in which Coach Loney started the stunt conversation. “She just texted out to come into the weight room during lunch and that we were going to watch a video about this thing called stunt,” Escamilla said. “We just went off from there.”
“When we saw the other teams play against us, we were like, ‘let’s see what happens when we keep going with the flow,'” Cashmore added. “Then we went to CIF our first year and we were like, ‘okay, that’s how you play, that’s how you do it.'”
The girls caught on quick. In just the third year of the program, the Bearcats became three-time league champions.
“We have our own board in the gym now where we get to see where they unveil the banners and where it says 2017, 2018, and soon to be 2019,” Loney exclaimed. “It couldn’t feel better to see our own board with own league championship dates up there.”
“There’s really no better feeling of recognizing from where we came from to where we’re coming now,” Escamilla said.
The team’s motto is, ‘work hard until your idols become your rivals,’ and for the first time in the program’s three-year existence, the Bearcats have qualified for the CIF State Tournament where they will indeed compete against squads they looked up to when first starting out.
“Just to think that we’re playing with them, they’re going to be on the other side of the mat,” Cashmore said. “We’re going to see them, and we’re going to be like, ‘yeah, we can be as good as them.'”
“We need to make you know all your counts, making sure you use it to go higher on some things, be tighter, and not necessarily thinking of what they’re doing, but thinking of what you’re doing,” Escamilla added.
Eight outstanding seniors lead the team of 43 girls and all are working towards the same goal. This team is truly a family.
“You’d think that there’s so much drama because it’s a cheer team like Bring It On, a popular movie from 2000 about competitive cheerleading, but it’s really not. We’re so happy. We’re a bunch of goofballs, and it’s not bad because we’re always smiling and laughing.”
“They’re really special to me,” Loney said. “They’ve helped build this program, and I definitely couldn’t have done it without this strong group.”
The CIF State Tournament will take place in Sacramento May 2-4 at Sacramento State University.