Varsity Cheer Routine Breakdown

Evan Miller

The Boone varsity cheerleaders are coming off their second straight win at nationals. These girls haven’t been beaten in a full calendar year, which is a big accomplishment.

Many people who may not know the sport may not understand just what makes this cheer team so good. Well, it goes much deeper than just a group of determined and hardworking girls; the routine is a big part of what makes them so good.

They have been executing college level stunts all year, and we’re here to break them down for you.

Holly Jones

The first moment from the routine that demonstrates the quality of the team is the opening partner stunt, which gets the crowd into the performance before the squad gets into tumbling and stunts.

One girl (the base) holds up another girl (the flyer) by herself, hoisting the girl up above her head. This is preformed by senior Christine Roberts and sophomore Payeton Wright.

This stunt can go wrong if the base (the girl on the floor) misses the feet of the flyer (the girl in the air). Then, if the flyer doesn’t tighten her muscles, she’ll be wobbly and hard to hold, and can fall in any direction.

Try to balance a pencil vertically on one finger, imagine that the pencil is a human being above your head, and understand how difficult this can be.

Holly Jones

The second moment from the routine is called the standing tumbling, which is where all the girls line up, and seven of them kneel down and squat on the ground while four girls do a standing tumbling pass, in this case hand-hand fulls.

A hand-hand full features two back handsprings that end with a black flip with a straight body and a full twist (pictured).

Every step in the sequence has to start and land where it’s supposed to, or the tumbling cheerleader can face plant on the mat or worse.

To ensure this, proper technique is key, as a wrong step could lead to injuries.

Holly Jones

The third moment from the routine is the first elite stunt: three bases circle around a flyer and the girls preform a full up switch up, which is when the bases lift the flyers into the air by one foot while the flyer holds the other foot up and does a full spin before landing on the opposite foot.

Next, the three flyers preform a high to high tick tock, which is when the flyer switches body positions and feet in mid air after a little boost by the bases.

The last stunt before the flyers come down is a hand in hand, where the flyer does a handstand in the air using the bases for support, and then gets thrown up to land on her feet in the bases’ waiting hands (pictured).

A lot can go wrong. If the bases miss their grips, the stunt will fall, and there are many grip changes that require the bases to coordinate their release and grip while each holds a different part of the flyer. The flyers must maintain tense muscles and balance.

Holly Jones

The fourth moment from the routine is the cheer. The girls all line up and then get out small signs, spelling out “Rebels.” This is the moment where the girls lead the crowd in cheers of “Rebels get rowdy” (pictured).

All the girls have high energy, and the crowd gets more into the routine, clapping and screaming to lead into the second elite stunt.

This may seem like the easiest part, and maybe it is, but things can still go wrong. If a cheerleader steps on poms or signs, it is a deduction.

The cheer ends with a stunt: a full up, where the bases lift the flyers from the floor into the air and the flyers make a full rotation, and a low to high full around, where the bases dip the flyers briefly before they do another full spin.

It ends with the flyers standing on the shoulders of a single base before a bit more cheering.

Holly Jones

After a running tumbling sequence, the second elite stunt happen with a double up to immediate stretch.

This is where the bases throw the flyers into the air and the flyers complete two full rotations before landing on one foot while being held up by the bases.

Next, the flyer drops her elevated foot to the bases before she completes another full spin, landing on one foot (pictured).

Once again bases need to be precise while coordinating multiple lifts, grips and changes. The flyers have to maintain their tense muscles, or else their wobbly bodies will be very hard for the bases to balance.

Holly Jones

The sixth moment from the routine is the final pyramid.

The bases come together and the flyers perform roundoff ups to heel stretches, which is when the two outside flyers perform a round off into the bases arms, and the bases lift the flyers from an upside down position before she lands on her feet in the air.

The distance of the roundoff needs to be precise, or the flyer can kick the bases before being elevated, and then there’s always the chance of a fall while the flyer is being positioned in the air.

The routine is almost over, but the cheerleaders still execute several more stunts, sometimes with only two bases instead of three.

Caitlynn Vaske, Michelle Schuster & Mallory Schuster (Cheer consultants) and Lance Melching (story contributions) also contributed to this story.

Watch a video of the routine on the Boone County High School Facebook page.