COSTA MESA, Calif. – Vanguard University announced this month that Leslie Allen has joined the athletics department to serve as head stunt coach, a new position on the Costa Mesa campus. Allen comes with a wealth of coaching experience, having spent the last seventeen years as head cheer coach at St. John's Lutheran School in Orange, Orange Lutheran High School, Cypress High School, and Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas.
"Leslie sees coaching as a ministry," said Rhett Soliday, athletic director and men's basketball coach at Vanguard University. "She loves investing in the lives of student-athletes, which fits well with the culture and mission at Vanguard. She has built teams throughout her career, and we look forward to having her build a Christ-centered program where we can produce great leaders for the future."
Allen returns to her roots in Orange County after spending the last two years at Ouachita Baptist University (OBU). In her first year at OBU, she took the Tigers to compete in their first ever stunt meet. OBU won each of the games that were played and based on their scores at that the meet, was ranked 6th nationally in Division II at the end of the stunt season.
Before heading to OBU, Allen spent three years at Cypress High School. She took a non-competitive team and made a winning competitive program, qualifying for finals at USA Nationals in each of her three years.
Over the 12 years Allen spent at Orange Lutheran High School, her varsity cheer teams won three National Championships and eight UCA State Championships, as well as regional and invitational state titles. Her teams were also finalists at UCA Nationals in Florida and regularly highlighted on ESPN for the National High School Cheerleading Championship. More than 75% of her senior cheerleaders at Orange Lutheran went on to cheer at the college level, many on athletic scholarship.
"My motto for each team I coach is 'strive for excellence in everything we do' and I believe this is the common thread that runs through every aspect of my role as a coach," Allen said. "I look forward to forming this new team at Vanguard, and creating an environment where dedication, confidence, character and a personal Christian walk is developed in each team member."
Stunt removes the crowd-leading element and focuses on the technical and athletic components of cheer. It is a cheerleading game where two squads compete at the same time against each other, performing the same routine. The matches are divided into four quarters: the first quarter is partner stunts, the second is pyramids & baskets, the third is jumps & tumbling, and the last is a conglomeration of them all. Teams compete in three routines per quarter. After performing, the judges award a point to the team with best synchronization and performance difficulty. The sport of stunt is growing fast at both the college and high school level.
The new role of stunt coach that Allen will take on allows the university to begin a stunt program and expand opportunities to female student-athletes who will compete in stunts at the college level. Allen will start on January 30, and begin recruiting immediately for the 2017-18 academic year. Vanguard's first competition is planned for spring 2018.
For more information, please contact Coach Allen at [email protected]