Boys add a dimension to Rifle’s cheer squad
RIFLE – Kyle Allee and Todd Stoner have given an old-school look to Rifle High School’s cheerleading squad, along with a newfound appreciation from Bears fans.
“At the first game they did, Todd and Kyle went out and the people in the stands were cheering for them. It was wonderful.” said first-year coach Jill Morgan.Both of the boys, who joined the previously all-girl cheer squad at the start of basketball season, agree.”It’s nice,” Allee said. “The fans are glad we do it.” “Surprisingly, most of the students back us up,” Stoner added.
The boys’ roles differ from the girl cheerleaders, the coach said.”I told them they are not cheerleaders,” Morgan noted. “Instead, I call them stuntmen. That appeased the boys. And because of them, we’re changing the image of the cheer team at school.”Stoner and Allee line up and cheer with the girls. But, instead of the intricate moves of their female teammates, the boys’ motions are simpler and tighter.As Morgan informed them, Allee and Stoner’s primary duties are to provide a stronger base for the squad’s partner stunts.”The girls were struggling with there stunts,” Morgan said. “That’s why I was trying to recruit guys.”
Allee has also sparked the crowd’s attention with his gymnastic skills.”During a timeout, I do my flips and tricks or I pick up the girls and do cheers with them.”Joining the squad has also changed the way Stoner previously saw cheerleading.”I thought it was a wussy thing and the cheerleaders weren’t really athletes. Since I’ve seen the work the squad put into everything, it’s changed my perception.”Having boys on the squad caused a shift of the girls’ outlook.
“Having the guys on the squad has helped out a lot,” said junior Kelly Watson. “They’re outgoing and not afraid to do anything. They let us know that we can do more.” Still, it took a while for the girls to get used to having males on the team.”At first it was a little awkward,” Watson said. “The girls (on the squad) were thinking, ‘They’re here. What do we do now?'”It was hard at the start. But everything’s OK now. The boys have helped us so much. They encourage us and we need them.”The goal for Allee, Stoner and the coach is for more boys to join up after both boys graduate this spring.”Hopefully, we’ll get more guys in after we’re gone,” Allee said. “And I hope the school remembers us.”
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