PASO ROBLES — After winning league in their inaugural season in 2017 and repeating in 2018, the Paso Robles Bearcats stunt team has their sights set on a third consecutive league title as they remain undefeated after winning both games on Tuesday evening.
“This season has been phenomenal,” head coach Tori Loney said. “We are undefeated in league, we are doing phenomenally better than we were doing in 2017 or even in 2018.
The Bearcats have been a force in the sport since the inception of their team in 2017 when they went all the way to the CIF title game but fell to Camarillo. The Conquistadors have been a thorn in the side of the ‘Cats for the past few years and the girls had never been able to beat them until last weekend when they played them in a dual with Santa Barbara.
“We beat Camarillo 14-12 in a nailbiter that came all the way down to the very end,” Loney said. “But it just kind of shows you the growth of the team, the mindset and that they are hungry for that next win, they are hungry for that championship and are very excited too, but another league year up on our board on the wall.”
Through each of the last two years, the stunt program has continued to grow. The team originally began with around 35 members in 2017 and this year the program has 43. Tuesday night the Bearcats said goodbye to nine of their seniors, all of which have been with the program since its inception, with big wins over both San Luis Obispo and Nipomo.
The nine seniors in the program are: Faith Alviso, Izzy Belflower, Kylie Bridewell, Stephanie Cashmore, Jeraly Escamilla, Cristi Gonzales, Madeline Hanauer, Sofia Moses and Julia Stevens.
“They are the lifeblood of our team,” Loney said of her seniors. “They are our heart and soul, they drive our practices, they drive the tempo, the momentum, the feel of the games that we play. We have captains that are wise beyond their years and they are the ones that I lean on time and time again to tell me what is wrong or to help me fix things.”
Winning a league title means more than normal this year with the switch to the Central Section making things a little different. Not only will a league title get you into the CIF tournament, which will be on April 27 at Paso Robles High School, but it will also punch your ticket to the State tournament in May.
Paso Robles remains undefeated with only two games remaining in their league season so it seems that ticket will be covered in crimson.
Coach Loney added that one of the biggest factors contributing to the success of the stunt program is its natural progression from the cheer team. The same way many water polo players swim to get faster because it will help them in water polo or the way a football player runs track preparing for the fall, cheerleaders are now using the fall and winter seasons to prepare for the spring season of stunt.