Dallas, Texas - The Alma College STUNT team finished as the Division II runner-up at the 2017 College STUNT National Championships after suffering a 17-14 defeat at the hands of top-ranked Davenport University in the championship game.
Alma (14-3), seeded second in the bracket, competed in its first-ever national championship game and posted the highest finish in program history. The Scots finished third in each of the last two seasons and placed fourth during their first appearance in 2014.
The Panthers (8-1) won their third straight title and battled back to the championship game after falling to the Scots in the semifinals of the double-elimination tournament. Davenport eliminated No. 4 University of Central Oklahoma earlier in the day to advance and face Alma for the rematch.
"We are so proud of our performance today," Head Coach Michelle Sabourin said. "The girls left everything on the mat and finished their season with an amazing showing. They represented Alma College at the highest level and accomplished the highest finish in program history."
The game was tightly played in the first half, as the Scots jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead, taking advantage of a fall by Davenport after the Panthers called Routine 7 to open the first quarter, which consisted of partner stunts. Davenport responded by winning Routine 3 and then took Routine 6 after the Scots suffered a fall. Alma regained possession at the end of the quarter, tying Davenport in Routine 4 to end the first quarter down 3-2.
The Scots called Routine 2 to open the second quarter, and won the pyramids and tosses routine to tie the game at 3-3. Alma then tied with Davenport in Routine 3 to keep the score knotted at 4-4. With possession flipping to the Panthers, Davenport called Routine 5 and captured the point, but the Scots came back to take Routine 6 and end the first half tied at 5-5.
In the third quarter, the two teams alternated possession, but Davenport was able to win two of the four routines to gain a two-point advantage. Alma called Routine 2 to open the jumps and tumbling round and tied with the Panthers, shifting possession to Davenport. DU then called Routine 6 and gained a 7-6 lead after the routine was forfeit by the Scots in order to regain possession. Alma used its possession to call Routine 1 to try to get the point back, but the Scots and Panthers tied, giving possession back to Davenport. The Panthers called Routine 4 and won to go ahead by a 9-7 margin.
Alma pulled within one point after winning the first routine of the fourth quarter, 3-2. Alma called Routine 2 to open the final period and the teams tied in the partner stunts and jump and tumble sections, but the Scots won the pyramids and tosses section to close the gap.
Alma immediately took a time out and called Routine 1, which both teams tied in all three sections to make the score 14-13 in favor of the Panthers. The tie gave possession to Davenport for the final routine of the game, and the Panthers called Routine 6. Davenport won the final performance by a 3-1 margin to capture the title, taking two of the three sections, winning the partner stunts section and earning a point against the standard after a forfeit by the Scots in the jumps and tubling routine. The teams tied in the pyramid and tosses section.
The Scots graduate four seniors - Jordan Wilson (Garden City, Mich./Garden City), Brianne Schafer (Westphalia, Mich./Pewamo-Westphalia), Jade Paquin (Muskegon, Mich./Fruitport) and Baily Sopjes (Dorr, Mich./Wayland) - from the program, which is in its fifth season of existence.
Dehring named STUNT Administrator of the Year
During halftime of the championship game, Alma College Associate Athletics Director and Senior Women's Administrator Sarah Dehring was named the 2017 College STUNT Association's Administrator of the Year. Dehring was honored for her work supporting the Scots' STUNT program on campus as well as her involvement in introducing the sport to other NCAA Division III schools.
STUNT is the fastest growing female sport in the country, according to USA Cheer. The sport takes the athletic skills of cheerleading - partner stunts, jumps, tumbling and pyramids - and creates a full, hour-long format that challenges teams in head-to-head competition. For more information about the sport, visit usacheer.net/stunt.