City Stunt Champions are Looking to Repeat in 2020


Stunt team at 2019 B champs

Agatha Ryan, Staff Writer

Imagine being at the most important game of your life and you’re down one point. You’re tired and sweaty, and the rest of your team is counting on you to save the day. Last June, at the 2019 City Stunt Championships, the girls on the MBHS squad were feeling exactly that sense of exhilaration and pressure, that this could be the year the Millennium Stunt team finally won the championships. Every person on the team felt that, under the sure guidance of Ms. Castronovo, that they could finally bring it at  their first championship win against Metropolitan High School. Current seniors Gabby Cozzo, Jodian O’Connor, former captain Jessica Brunner, Brianna Ingram, Daniel Nelson, April Koffi and Tiye Grant all lead the team to a brilliant victory. 

Stunt isn’t like cheerleading, with poms poms and peppy songs. Stunt is more gymnastics-based and stunters jump, tumble, make pyramids and toss each other through the air. It’s just like Bring it On!–but without the singing, dancing–and drama. Trust and teamwork is key in Stunt. “People’s literal lives are in your hands,” says Gabby, who is a flyer on the team. She continues, “It takes a lot of commitment. You have to be willing to understand that there are potentially a lot more risks.” 

As a flyer, Gabby is thrown up into the air by the bases. There are also the backspots who are crucial to the performance of the team since they are the ones who are prepared to catch the flyers if they fall. The flyers jump into the hands of the back spot and the bases, while the backspots and bases bend and lift the flyers. The tosses, tumbling and pyramids don’t all happen at the same time, in fact in a competition, there are three levels, and 4 routines in each level: tumbling, tosses, pyramids and a combination of all three  All the stunt teams in the PSAL (the Public School Athletic League) learn the same choreography. The routines are given to the teams by the league, so the girls are judged by how perfectly they perform. Unlike dance, there isn’t much room for artistic flair. The routines must be impeccably performed or else the judges will award the competing team the point. 


Tiye explains how waiting for the judges to decide who gets the point is really suspenseful. “You just have to sit there and wait for them to finish talking about everything.”  However, if a team flubs a stunt badly there are deductions of points. Although this is all very complicated, Gabby insists, “It’s fun to do because you can achieve a lot.”

 Flashback to t the College of Staten Island Gym where the Millennium stunt team has gathered to compete head-to-head with Metropolitan High School in the citywide championships. The pressure was on. A team member had injured themselves in the playoffs earlier, and the team was on edge.  Gabby says, “I felt like if I didn’t hit something perfectly, I would be the one that wouldn’t get us the point.” This year was big for the stunt team because at the end of the preceding school year, Ms. McKelvin, one of their coaches, passed away. Ms. McKelvin had founded the team and the juniors and seniors were close with her. Ms. Castrono noted that  when the team did end up winning, it was the fulfillment of Ms. McKelvin’s ambitions for the team.  “[She] would have wanted us to win and I think she was super proud,” Ms. Castronovo says. “It’s more than just winning for winning, we had a deeper reason to why we wanted to win so bad.” 

Winning the championships was a major accomplishment for Millennium since the school is the first Brooklyn-based team to win. To Gabby and the girls, winning “felt good because we come close every year.” Each previous year, the stunt team had lost by one point, and this year, it was Millennium that won by one point. You can find the championship banner across from the elevators in the main hall of the school.  This year, the team has been bumped up to the A division, so the competition will be stiffer. But the stunt team’s perseverance and hard work paid off by winning the championship, thus capping the season a great end to.