By Jeremy McDonald
Rocklin went from competing in one ‘Stunt’ game in 2014 to going 10-1, and swept the competition to win the first ever California Stunt State Championship Title the next year.
“Personally I didn’t,” “Personally as a coach, you want to think the best case scenario. But we always planned for whatever happened.
“I had a lay-out of schedule, if we lost our first game or we lost our second game, whenever that might be. In my head I knew we were going to sweep it.”
The stunt tournament, held at Leland High School in San Jose, featured the Thunder squad, Antelope, host Leland, San Jose High School and Liberty Ranch High Schools.
Rocklin proved dominant in the bracket, but the biggest challenged was against the Titans in the semi-final game by going to five overtime quarters before defeating Antelope to advance.
The trick for Berry for her team was simple enough.
“Just wanting to keep the energy going,” said Berry. “You can call timeouts in stunt, but at the point the girls were so amp’d up, you just want to keep that energy up.”
When they won, there was an eruption of cheering from Rocklin’s sideline.
“There was a big eruption of excitement because it was building up from back-to-back-to-back tying and then winning for that fifth round,” explained Berry.
Fatigue sat in during the match but, according to senior Maddie Lyle, it was nice to win that match.
“Before this tournament, we only played two games,” said Maddie Lyle. “Some of us were playing four or five games in the tournament so everyone were pushed to their limits.
“So it was really nice to have won that game and be ready for the final match so we didn’t have to fight our way back to the final.”
The Titans would climb through the ‘losers’ bracket to reach the state championship round to face Rocklin once more.
This time, it didn’t have to go to overtime as the Thunder quiet Antelope for the title.
Ellie Lyle looks at the win as a good thing, but not without a strong knowledge of the sport added Maddie Lyle.
“As a high school, Rocklin has propel the sport forward,” said Ellie Lyle. “So that’s something.”
“It has to do a lot with our coach,” added Maddie Lyle. “She’s really amazing, she’s really, really educated in cheer and she has gone around the country with the UCA program teaching girls how to cheer.”
Maddie Lyle explained that Coach Berry’s passion motivated them and got them excited as a team to do better and believe in what they are doing en route to the state championship.
Despite losing 13 seniors from this year’s team, Rocklin will look to veterans from this year’s team and starting from the bottom with their routines.
“They get it, they understand it, they know what it takes to get there,” said Berry. “Learning all of those routines up until we get up to that skill level peak, then working on those skills through the end.”
By Jeremy McDonald