Cheerleading evolves as 13 boys join


photo by Tiffany Heffy. Junior Daniel Larucci holds junior Jennifer Tan up in a one-man stunt. Partner stunting is Larucci’s favorite part of cheerleading.

Cheerleading is typically defined as girls cheering on a sports team, dancing and throwing other girls around. The key word being girls. However, an aspect that most overlook is that cheerleading is in fact a co-ed sport.

In the past, Elk Grove has had as many as eight guys on varsity cheer at one time. This year, a cheer revolution is in store as a total of 13 males will be joining the competition cheer squad.

“I thought it was kinda weird because I didn’t really understand the sport,” junior Levi Parks said. “But once you get on the team you realize you aren’t really doing the same things as the girls.”

Many do not realize that males on the team do not participate in all of the same aspects as girls. Males only do two jumps, a pike and a Russian, while girls do many others. Also, boys never fly in stunts. They are mainly bases and backs to bring strength to the team.

“The main thing boys bring is strength,” coach Rebecca Serra said. “We can toss girls higher, try new stunts and do new pyramids.”

Boys also bring more tumbling skills, because boys tend to be more fearless than girls, making it easier for them to learn how to flip.

With more guys joining the team, it can hopefully shed a different light on male cheerleaders.

“After [other guys] go to a competition or watch what I do in practice, they think a little differently of it,” junior Daniel Larucci said.

Elk Grove is not the only team with a new wave of male cheerleaders. In fact, five other teams in the region are transitioning from being all female teams to co-ed, including Conant High School.

“It’s not like I’m the only guy that does it. There are a lot,” Larucci said. “I’m not the only [male] that finds it fun.”

Most of the males who will be joining the competition are coming from other sports such as football and gymnastics and are using cheerleading to be with their friends and to stay in shape.

“It’s just another way to hang out with your friends, get work done and still be active in the offseason,” Larucci said.

With society evolving, Elk Grove is also facing change by adapting to a situation that seems so out of the ordinary. This year, many students will see that cheerleading is truly a co-ed sport.

“I think people will realize that it is a lot harder than you think,” Parks said. “It’s not just a girls sport, but it can be a guys sport too.”

by Codi Oehlerking