Countdown to Touchdown
Spirit Squad and Dance Team
Carl J. Bachus
It’s loud. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when entering Carnie Smith Stadium on a warm Saturday afternoon. The players have yet to step foot on the field, but somehow the crimson and gold-lined stands are already fired up. For two or so hours, you’ve left classes and stresses behind. You’ve entered Gorilla Country.
That’s the feeling that the fan is supposed to have at one of the first Gorilla football games at PSU. A tremendous amount of effort from a lot of different people goes into the fan experience at Carnie Smith. Front and center in all this celebration are the spirited chants and vivacious moves of the PSU Spirit Squad and Crimson and Gold Dance Team.
“It’s my way to connect with the university,” said cheer co-captain Clare Petrucci, senior in accounting, “I love representing Pitt State. I mean, I couldn’t be more proud to go here. I love supporting it in any way possible.”
Petrucci said that when the squad amps up the crowd, it’s to get the team going, pushing harder and harder for the win. Her co-captain John Norman concurred.
“The whole team loves it,” said Norman, senior in construction management. “Whenever we start the ‘Pitt State,’ the team loves it as much as the crowd loves it.”
Petrucci said that an enormous amount of hard work goes into the home opener, the first game of the season.
“We work all summer to get ready for this game,” Petrucci said, “and it’s such a big game and so much goes into it. It kind of sets the tone for the entire season. We have to look good to make Pitt look go, so we have to make sure the whole game day experience is flawless.”
Norman said that the squad has welcomed a number of new faces, but the team’s benchmark is still there.
“We definitely have a standard for what we need to do for games,” Norman said. “We’re teaching a lot of new, wide-eyed freshmen on the team about the PSU experience and what game day life is like.”
Performing on game day is no small task. Riling up the crowd is one thing, but keeping their attention when the game isn’t going on is an entirely different animal. The Crimson and Gold Dance Team keeps the crowd enthralled during halftime and their award-winning moves help keep game day spirits up.
“We’re there for the eyes and entertainment,” said dance team captain Jordan Tincher, senior in business management. “(Performing in the games) is hard to describe. The atmosphere and the energy are ridiculous. Being on the field, you get chills.”
Tincher said that without these performances, the game day experience wouldn’t be the same.
“You watch the crowd in the student section when the band plays music or cheer does a chant or we do a dance; everyone is so involved,” said Tincher. “In football they have timeouts, switching of the quarters and all that. I think that it would be very dead. I think we’re a huge part of it.”