Cedarville’s new student cheer section brings new energy to games
by Kaileigh Willis
The athletic department hopes to create more positive energy at Cedarville’s athletic events through the new student cheer section, SWARM.
Stephanie Zonars, assistant athletic director for marketing and sponsorships at Cedarville, and a group of students created the SWARM to encourage more students to support Cedarville’s sports teams, come together as a community and have fun. Planning for SWARM took place over the summer, and the cheer section officially became a student organization this semester.
SWARM is an organized student section at various Cedarville sports events where the athletes, pep band and students have the ability to come together as “one school, one body” and support the school instead of each acting as separate parts.
Student leaders, or “hype leaders” as one leader, Stephanie Cradduck referred to them as, lead the crowd in numerous cheers and chants throughout the game to show school pride for the school’s teams. The eight student leaders get together to plan cheers and organize promotional events.
However, the hype leaders alone are not SWARM. The cheer section is intended to be a group of all Yellow Jackets in the student body. SWARM seeks to promote school spirit and unification, without a player-observer dichotomy, so all are welcome and encouraged to participate.
SWARM’s creation came about as a response to low attendance and minimal cheering at events over the past few years. SWARM’s goal is to increase attendance and cheering by producing more enthusiasm surrounding Cedarville’s various athletic events and by creating a lively community for students to cheer together.
The student cheer section held its first promotional event at the Lady Jackets soccer game on Aug. 31. True to the event’s beach night theme, SWARM leaders passed out free sunglasses and T-shirts. They also led chants and cheers and gave out banners and buckets for spirited Yellow Jackets to make some noise.
As members of the women’s soccer team, SWARM leaders Cradduck and Creslyn Van Dyck said they love playing in such an enjoyable environment. The SWARM cheers and chants are all for the Yellow Jacket team and never against the opposing side. With around 600 people cheering on the Lady Jackets at the Aug. 31 game, SWARM created a positive atmosphere for athletes on both teams and observers alike.
SWARM leader Kyle Stecker said although the student organization gives out free T-shirts and other items, that is not the goal. Instead, the goal is to encourage students to show up for the lively atmosphere, to enjoy meeting other people, and to support Cedarville’s athletic teams rather than attending the events just for the free stuff.
“We need to support [the athletes] because they chose a hard path for us,” Stecker said. “What they do is for us [so] we want to give back to them.”
The free T-shirts proved to be a good incentive, however, as the women’s volleyball match on Sept. 22 had a high turnout. Coach Doug Walters said that the total attendance of the game was 1,255, which is a Cedarville volleyball record.
Cradduck promised that SWARM games are “loud and proud and hype … it’s an event. You’re going to have fun.”
After the first event, Cradduck was right. When the volleyball match had ended, students were overheard gushing about how much they enjoyed the crowd spirit. One student mentioned that they initially attended the event for the free T-shirt but ended up having an enjoyable time.
SWARM will be appearing at various promotional games throughout the semester, encouraging students to become even more involved in the Cedarville community through attending athletic events. Students can learn more about SWARM’s next events on Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram under the handle @cuswarm.
Kaileigh Willis is a freshman professional writing and information design major and writer for Cedars. When she’s not studying, Kaileigh likes to drink tea, read, and listen to music.