Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Torrance Shipman

When I hear people say, “Oh, she’s only a cheerleader.” I say, “Yeah, can you perform a front handspring, step out, round off back handspring, step out, round off back handspring, full twisting layout?” That’s when the glazed look falls on their face. Torrance can. I wouldn’t have her performing full twisting layouts on Women Who Wow Wednesday otherwise.

Kirsten Dunst as Torrance Shipman
Kirsten Dunst as Torrance Shipman

Torrance Shipman (Kirsten Dunst) is up for captain of the Rancho Carne High School cheerleading squad in San Diego, California. We’re talking about the premier five-time national champions. Big Red, the current leader, is retiring. After a quick vote, Torrance clinches control and her first order of business is to assert her ascent to the throne. The dreaded words Wolf Wall fly from her mouth and everyone groans. Up they go, building one of the most fearsome pyramids in cheerleading. A few failed attempts doesn’t deter Torrance. She wants it. One last time and they make it, but in the air, the squad swivels, tilts, and shakes until Carver, their lead cheerleader, slips to her demise.

Les: You know, everyone’s saying that your ambition broke Carver’s leg.
Torrance Shipman: When really it was the angle in which she slammed into the ground.

Nothing will hold Torrance back from achieving a sixth national win.

Bring It On's Torrance Shipman
Bring It On’s Torrance Shipman

Bring It On is one of those movies that doesn’t have much of a plot, but it sure has a lot of heart. Spawning four sequels, whenever I need a good jolt of can-do attitude, I pop this into my player, sit back and let the positive vibes fill my soul.

Without giving too much away, Torrance’s challenge is keeping the team together after Big Red’s departure. This means quashing the rebellious takeover plans of two of the Rancho Carne Toros’ wannabe bosses and keeping everyone happy after a major revelation nearly disintegrates their chances at the Nationals.

Did you know that cheerleading accounts for almost two-thirds of all catastrophic sports injuries among high school girls? Imagine the enormous pressure on Torrance’s shoulders after Carver’s accident. Any ordinary person would have said buh-bye. Not Torrance.

Among the best attributes in Torrance’s character is her unwillingness to quit. No matter what gets in her way, she seems to thrive on overcoming obstacles. Her determination of wanting to remain the best causes her team to rise to new challenges, explore new ideas, and work harder than ever in order to attain perfection. She’s not one to take it in the chin and lie down. She a fighter. And fighters tend to go the distance, even if they are cheerleaders.


Have you seen Bring It On? What did you think of Torrance? Did you like how she led the team in spite of the failures?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

19 thoughts on “Torrance Shipman

  1. It’s so refreshing to see a series like “Women who wow” not only feature your obvious Kick Ass Heroines, but “only a cheerleader” characters like Torrance. Who, I agreely, totally rocks.

  2. II’d cheerleading in junior high. I was between sports and they needed another girl or there would be no squad and being the nice person I am…yeah ツ….
    Bring It On was ok. Cheerleading is very competitive and Torrance Shipman IMHO could have done things differently but her fierce competitiveness could have been redirected so there would have been no injuries… I ♡ Kristen Dunst…speaking of which, where did she go????

  3. My friend and I had a “flappy day” and had nine hours of straight TV-watching this monday. No, I’m not proud. Especially not of all the ice cream.
    *Ahem* Anyhow, one of the movies we chewed through was Bring It On. I’d forgotten what a great movie it is. The only thing I remember are the awesome jumps that I do NOT know the names of. I just go “wow” and wish I could do that and slouch back into the couch with my snack.
    Torrance definitely is an admirable character and drives the little plot there is. I don’t think it’s entirely plotless, though. They have a goal and keep meeting obstacles. They have a lesson to learn, that cheating won’t do it, and every time they try to cut corners they fail.
    What is really great about Bring It On is how the protagonists are actually in the wrong, not the antagonists.

    1. Nine hours? That’s incredible! And you lived to tell the tale.

      Ha, slouching is good–on the couch, but those aerial maneuvers are incredible. YouTube has a whole list of World Championships for cheerleading you can also enjoy. Here’s a taste:

      Yes, cheating never pays. I’m in 100% agreement with you there.

      Again, great catch regarding the protagonists and antagonists. I never really looked at it that way!

      1. Haha, I guess I would since I’m in the middle of reading a bunch of writing craft books XD

  4. Another great one I haven’t seen. I’m not familiar with cheerleading so a bad injury would probably make me stop whereas a martial arts injury is just an occupational hazard. Hmm… lots to ponder here.

  5. I love sports movies ( they’re always my inspirational/feel-good movie of choice), and I loved Bring It On! I loved Torrance – such a fighter. I cheered in grade school. Even then it wasn’t easy for uncoordinated me, but it’s so much more elaborate and intense now. Cheerleaders are talented people!

    1. They are talented people! And sports movies are incredible motivational testaments. I can’t get enough of them. I think though, Bring It On does get a bad rap for being more on the fluff side of things, but in reality I think it’s a well-done film with lots of enthusiasm to boot! Gosh, I’m talking about LOTS of enthusiasm!!!

  6. I didn’t love “Bring It On” quite as much as “Stick It” but Torrance Shipman is a fun character. I love any movie that shows the power and difficulty of sports that look ‘so easy’ (competitive cheerleading, figure skating, ballet, synchronized swimming).

  7. *whispers* I have never seen Bring it On. *hangs head in embarrassment*

    I’m fairly certain this is one of the fun, mindless classics of my generation. I didn’t avoid watching it. Somehow it just didn’t happen. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of this.

  8. This is SUCH a fun movie. I get a big kick out of it, every time I watch it. Torrance is a good person, a fierce competitor, and a motivational leader – when she sees how it really works. Great movie.

    Cheering is HARD work and these people do it with big smiles and makeup. You’ll never see a pro-ball player do THAT. 😉

    1. Cheering is hard work! The girls have to know gymnastics now, which increases the risk of getting into a catastrophic sports injury. They have to know dance, in some cases singing–a whole roster of elements. They’re truly awesome to watch, but in those single moments when they’re out there, they’re always in a lot of danger. I really admire their courage!

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