Eagle STUNT team leaps past season opener opponents

The team showcased offseason improvements in win against Tiffin & Ursuline


AU Athletics

Pictured are STUNT seniors Karlee Rice, Kayla Pitts, Shila Hartzler and Kaylee Reed.

Cade Cracas, Sports & Digital Editor

After the first official season last year as a team at Ashland University, the Eagle STUNT team has put in immense work in the offseason to prepare for their first match of the 2022-2023 season.

`This past Saturday, Feb. 11, the Eagles traveled north to Pepper Pike, Ohio, to take on the Ursuline Arrows and Tiffin Dragons to kick off their season. 

“My expectations for the season opener would be for our ladies to compete strong and confident in all of the routines,” said Head Coach Denise Farnsworth. “We expect to bring home two wins and then get back to work for the next weekend”. 

Farnsworth’s expectations would be met as the team downed the Arrows 17-1 and the Dragons 22-6, two Great Midwest Athletic Conference teams.

“The season opener will never not be a big deal, it doesn’t matter who we are playing. However, this year is different as our first two opponents set us up for a strong start in the GMAC. Therefore, there is a little more at stake, rather than just getting the nerves out,” said flyer Lily Boldman. “Luckily, we had our first scrimmage against Muskingum, which allowed returners and new teammates to get out the jitters.”

The Eagles showed little signs of struggle as they dominated their opponents in the season opener, perfecting routines and skills. 

“We have really spent many hours focusing on advanced partner stunt skills, proper technique in jumps and tumbling, and the ability to play the game with mental toughness,” said Farnsworth.

After a 9-3 overall record last season, the Eagles wanted to increase their ceiling by showcasing more tricks and routines with precision.

“We are really excited to showcase more Pyramids and Tosses this season,” said Farnsworth. “Last year we were only able to get through three levels in this area and this season we are working on six pyramid routines.”

This extra work, practice, and dedication may wear down a team both mentally and physically, but for the Eagles, the pressure builds a strong team bond.

“The week before our first game is when we really start to come together and make big strides. I see this each year,” said Boldman. “We start to become more focused on the end goal and setting ourselves up for the best possible outcomes at games. You can really start to see confidence peeking throughout our routines and the skills we are executing”.

Next, the Eagles gear up to take on the Dragons once again, and NCAA Division III Hiram College, on Feb. 19, in Tiffin, Ohio. 

“We have put in countless hours of work to perfect our skills and gain confidence in new skills. Now that the season is underway, we are ready to take our preseason work and put it out on the mat for everyone to see,” said senior leader Shila Hartzler. “I am super proud of this team and how far we have come, and how much further we want to go. The Eagles are ready”.