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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Partnership determines squad success

The base cheerleaders combine strengths to thrust the flyer 20 feet in the air. The flyer reaches peak height and then twists down into the arms of her bases.

Junior cheerleaders Brittany Stobbe, varsity flyer, and Natalie McCallum, varsity side base, each received 1st place medals and won the Performance Cheer Division with their team at the United Spirit Association’s (USA) 2008 Nationals in Anaheim, CA, March. 9.

“It’s the first time for our school to have a national title,” coach Katie Mendehall said. “They performed like champions and deserved to win.”

Stobbe and McCallum performed stunts together at the competition and throughout this year’s season.

“She (Stobbe) is the younger flyer on the squad,” McCallum said. “Her other bases and I worked to get her up every time and encourage her. You can’t function without one or the other.”

They both began their cheer careers during their freshman years.

“I knew that I was going to come back to FC for high school,” Stobbe said. “Although I had attended here in kindergarten and first grade, I wanted to be able to get reacquainted with people and I wanted a way to ?fit in’. Cheer had always interested me, so I decided to tryout and I made it.”

However, Stobbe had to overcome the fear of being dropped to be a flyer.

“I was only dropped one time my freshman year,” Stobbe said, “but now I have complete faith and trust in my bases that they will never let me hit the ground. They have actually thrown themselves down in order to catch me.”

As a base, McCallum supports Stobbe from the side.

“We all share the weight (of the flyer) equally,” McCallum said. “I really like being a base because I’m right under the stunt; you feel important!”

Stobbe performs stunts in the air and tries to maintain the attention of the crowd.

“My job is to be thrown into the air and hit a motion, fall or twist gracefully back into the bases’ arms,” Stobbe said. “You get to be the center of attention during the stunts.”

Although flyers may receive the credit for stunts, bases must provide a strong foundation for the flyer.

“Being a base means sacrificing your body,” McCallum said. “The bases must keep the flyer up even when gravity doesn’t want it.”

Mendenhall recognizes McCallum’s dedication to her cheerleading role.

“I have seen Natalie (McCallum) push a stunt up from her knees to keep the flyer in the air,” Mendenhall said. “Her dedication to keeping a stunt elevated is unmatched. She understands and knows the importance of a base’s job.”

According to Mendenhall, flyers are like quarterbacks of a football team: if the game goes well, the quarterback gets all the credit, but if a game goes bad, he takes the blame.

“If a stunt is awesome, everyone says ‘wow’,” Mendenhall said. “If the stunt comes down, it is always ‘Brittany fell!’ even if it is not the flyer’s fault. The flyer is front and center and it takes a special girl to do this job.”

A flyer must also depend on her bases, because falling poses a threat to cheerleaders’ safety. According to Heather Cabot’s Jan. 3, 2006, article, Cheerleading Injuries on the Rise for ABC News, an estimated 16,000 cheerleaders suffer serious injuries every year in accidents involving dramatic stunts and tumbles.

“Sports medicine researchers at Columbus Children’s Hospital warn that the sport has become much more dangerous in the last two decades,” Cabot’s article said. “The increasing emphasis on daring gymnastics and high-flying acrobatics has made cheerleading much more athletically demanding and risky in recent years.”

Last year, Stobbe damaged her back during a stunt. Although flyers are susceptible to injury, Stobbe still trusts her bases.

“I hurt my back from doing a double-down,” Stobbe said. “It was really painful. When we got off the stage after the semifinals at FCC (Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders) Nationals, I couldn’t walk. I learned to trust the people underneath me, knowing that they’ll risk their own lives to save me.”

Although the 2007-08 cheer season ended on March 9, Stobbe appreciates the team’s dedication throughout the year.

“This year started off rough, but as the year progressed, we were able to leave attitudes and drama at the door,” Stobbe said. “No matter what else was going on, we have been able to work together as a team and succeed at our competitions.”

For more information on varsity cheer, visit Benjamin Dang’s March 12, 2008, article, Cheer USA Nationals 2008 champions or Alyssa Quenzer’s Dec. 5, 2008, article, Cheer captains energize squad.

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