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Flying high: Wakefield stunt team preps for conference

Caroline Rhoad
The flyers of the stunt team pose as they are lifted off the ground by their strong bases.

With the end of the season right around the corner, Wakefield stunt team works hard with one another to prepare for their upcoming conference championship. The team has a strong dynamic that enables them to not only enjoy the journey of practicing together but also to create memories and lifelong friendships. 

Stunt is a competitive cheerleading sport consisting of six different levels. Each moves up in difficulty with three different categories: jumps and tumbling, partner stunts and pyramids. Jacara Poole is a civic literacy teacher and the coach for the stunt team who explains further what the team is focusing on currently.

“Right now we’re working on finishing out level three [overall]. We are trying to get to level four for partner stunts, level six for jumps and tumbling and for pyramids we would like to get to level three,” Poole said. “That’s our goal right now: to get all those levels done right before the conference.” 

The date for the conference is still not fixed yet as it depends on each of the player’s standing after the last game on April 25. In order to prepare for the conference, the team must make sure every level they are working on is correct. To do this, the coordinators for hosting stunt teams send videos for the team specifically to work from. Sheniya Williams, a junior and the captain of the stunt team, shares more on the subject.

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“There are videos that are sent out to teams and [we] have to learn those videos,” Williams said. “Everyone is given a spot and you have to learn your spot from the video and then perform it.” 

While working towards conferences, the girls enable teamwork by creating a comfortable atmosphere for each other and making sure to help one another whenever needed. Sophomore Autumn Forsythe reflects on the warmth radiated throughout her team members.

During their floor routine, three members kick high into their air in sync. (Caroline Rhoad)

“We all give each other positivity; if someone’s feeling down we will help them, [and] if someone’s doing something new we always try to encourage them,” Forsythe said. “Everyone is just there for everyone.” 

The stunt team gets together four times a week, practicing for three days and competing at a game for the other. Practices follow a routine, allowing the girls to know exactly what they need to work on.

“[Practice] starts with a warm-up and then we break up [into small groups] because stunt isn’t a full team routine: it usually [consists of] one group working on jumps and tumbling, another group working on level two partner stunts and then others working on level one partner stunts,” Poole said. “All those things are going on [simultaneously], so I’m just shifting around trying to fix everything.” 

All the weekly games have helped the team develop a new sense of motivation and inspiration after working hard with each other and then being able to showcase their efforts.

“My favorite competition was our first against Wake Forest; after our win, everyone was so excited and determined to continue doing well,” senior Kendal Goins said.

Through stunt practices, the team faced major setbacks due to injuries. In order to jump back from this obstacle, Poole and the team members quickly trained another member before their next game to keep things flowing.

Members of the team prepare to perform their floor routine against the Sanderson Spartans. (Caroline Rhoad)

“I’m usually a base, but this week I had to fly because one of our main flyers fractured her wrist, so it was not easy at our game yesterday because I’m not used to [flying]t,” Forsythe said. “I had to learn all the counts in two days; everyone was trying to work with me and that’s probably the hardest part of this whole season.” 

Despite the setbacks, the team has shown a strong dedication to each other and the sport, providing strong teamwork and discipline to get the job done. Williams reflects on the adoration of how much love and support she has for her team.

“It’s like we’re one big family supporting and uplifting each other; we’ve formed deep friendships and created a strong bond,” Williams said. “I love these girls like they are my sisters; it’s amazing how something like stunt can bring people closer and make life more meaningful.” 

This story was originally published on The Howler on May 3, 2024.