CIF recognizes cheer as sport

TOMMY MORIN

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Earlier this month, the state legislature unanimously passed Assembly Bill 949 which approved the classification of competitive cheerleading as a California Interscholastic Federation sport. Signed on October 7, this bill will take effect during the 2017 – 18 school year.

Under this legislation, the CIF is required to create guidelines and rules that participating teams will be required to follow. Due to the early stages of this law, the majority of these guidelines are currently unknown.

Before this law, cheer was considered a club rather than a sport. Because of this new designation, cheerleading teams have been able to practice and compete year-round. Because competitive cheerleading (now known as “stunt cheer”) is now classified as a CIF sport, teams’ abilities to practice and compete will be limited to a single season.

Part of these restrictions will affect practice hours for the cheerleaders, limiting the time that teams will be able to practice during the season. At the moment, a lot of these regulations are still in the beginning phases of development and have not yet been made official.

Stunt cheer consists of two teams competing head-to-head at the same time. This is different from the type cheerleading that the current Roseville High School competition team is used to, where teams compete at separate times with different routines and music and attempt to receive higher scores from a group of judges.

According to RHS cheerleading coach Gretchen Littlejohn, because the law is so new, the RHS cheerleading coaches do not have plans to create a stunt team to compete in the CVC.

According to Littlejohn, many of the athletes on the current team would be interested in participating in stunt cheer. Some of the cheerleaders have participated in summer camps that involve stunt cheer so some members of the team have experience in the sport already
Littlejohn believes that having a stunt team at RHS would help to further improve the cheer program at the school but decisions regarding RHS’ participation in the sport still need to be discussed.

“The short answer, yes. I’d love to see a stunt team,” Littlejohn said. “The long answer, it’s going to take a lot of discussion to make sure we do it the right way.”