Stuyvesant Stunt Rewrites the History Books

Stuyvesant’s coed stunt team makes the playoffs for the first time in history and looks to advance much deeper into the postseason for years to come.

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For the first time in Stuyvesant history, the stunt team made the playoffs, ending their season 6-4. This was a huge leap forward from the past two seasons in which the team was near the bottom of their division. The team finished the season with a record of 3-8 in 2017, a slight improvement from their 2016 record of 1-9.

They did, however, get knocked out by the second best team in the city, Susan Wagner High School, in the first round of the playoffs. The team scored a few points but failed to capitalize on several opportunities by making costly errors. Despite the loss, the fact that the team made the leap to the playoffs is impressive. General expectations for the team were low, as there was little reason to believe that this team would be any better than those in the past. However, the cheerleaders believed in themselves, and they were determined to create a winning culture. “We definitely wanted it, and I think that really played a big role in getting us there in the end,” sophomore backspot Erica Chen said.

With a revamped roster and strong execution, the team was successful in the regular season, defeating John F. Kennedy High School, James Monroe High School (by forfeit), John Bowne High School, Academy of American Studies, Harry Truman High School, and Morrisania Educational Campus (by forfeit).

However, the most important change made by the team was the way they approached each game. “We had a more organized system in terms of distributing routines. In stunt, there are a total of 24 pre-made routines created by PSAL. As a result, it’s important to know how to use each player in order to create a roster that would maximize the team’s potential,” junior and co-captain Kevin Zong said. “We also began to pick up more of these routines. In previous years, our team would learn only the easier routines and try to perfect those rather than learning the more difficult ones and giving those a chance as well. This year, however, we were able to learn and nearly perfect 23 out of the 24.” Being able to compete in more routines and shift their mindset gave the stunt team that extra push into the playoffs and is a strategy that the team looks to improve upon in upcoming years.

Of course, this year was not a perfect one for the stunt team, and they have many things to work on for next year. One of the issues this year was a regular lack of attendance at practice, which greatly hurt the team chemistry. Stunt is a team-oriented sport, so even if a few people miss practice, it becomes challenging for them to work on routines that require the coordination of the entire team. Furthermore, the new assistant coach, Nicholas O’Stanton, was still adjusting to the team, putting much of the leadership burden on captains Zong and junior Sharon Li. Next year, this team could easily go even farther with another year of growth by the team and coaches. With 38 of the 42 members of the roster returning (including both Zong and Li), another year should only improve the team’s abilities and communication.

After just one winning season, the stunt team was able to create a winning culture. Now, after getting their first taste of the playoff atmosphere, the team’s standards are raised up another notch. “Our goal was simply to make it to playoffs and make a name for Stuyvesant STUNT,” Zong said. The team truly did just that this year and hopes to add to their list of team accomplishments with every flip and tumble that they perform in coming years.

“Moving into cheerleading season, we are expecting to get even better next year and hopefully make it into finals next year,” Zong added. And all of a sudden, those goals do not seem to be too far-fetched at all.