The University of Nebraska at Omaha cheer team will be in the air soon, showing off new stunts after being forced to the ground for the last several years.
When stunting was banned at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Nebraska schools in 2002, cheerleading in Nebraska took a tumble.
“A lot of athletes were turned away from going to school in state because there was not a cheer team they could stunt with,” said UNO cheerleader Taylor Newgard.
Newgard has been cheering since she was five years old and has been stunting for a majority of her cheer career, starting in South Dakota. Newgard then moved to Minnesota, but it wasn’t until she got to Nebraska that she really got more serious about stunting, she said.
“I have flown, based and back based, so I pretty much have every component down,” Newgard said.
UNO’s cheer team recently bought back stunting for a basketball game earlier this season. Newgard, who is a flyer on UNO’s cheer team, said she is excited for what the future holds—not only for Omaha Cheer, but for cheer throughout the state. She also said that spectators must remember stunting is not as easy as it looks.
“You have to have trust and communication,” Newgard says. “I have been doing it for so long so it is second nature, but it can be scary. However, flyers cannot touch the floor, so you catch them regardless.”
Senior cheerleader Sydney Bonta and many other cheerleaders are excited and have been working hard on routines during early morning practices. Although many of them will not see the day of competition, this is a huge step for the future of UNO cheer.
“There are many good cheerleaders and dancers in Omaha, and they had to go out of state if they wanted to stunt or tumble,” Bonta said. “If they are like me and want to stay in state, this is a great option.”
Cheer coach Samara Phillips said stunting again brings the program “to the next level.”
Bonta said the turnout for cheer has been very different already due to reinstatement. There is plenty of excitement surrounding tryouts, and the girls are receiving a lot of questions. It is time to build up the team.