Baylor Spirit Squad prepping for first game day of the season and adding new elements to boost fan engagement
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Baylor Spirit Squad is finishing final run-throughs for the first Baylor home game of the season as they add new elements to boost fan engagement from kickoff through fourth quarter.
“We had kind of brought to light some traditions that were present in previous years, last year, and, now, we have made those traditions even bigger, even brighter,” Baylor Director of Spirit and Traditions Kristen Hankins said.
Hankins said the squad is using new four-foot signs for “Stadium Yell.”
“We want to make sure the whole entire stadium knows that when the big, big signs go up, it is time to rock that stadium with the Baylor Bears chant and we’re very excited about that,” Hankins said.
The Spirit Squad includes over 80 members with the all-girls cheer team, coed cheer team, the Songleader dance team and the mascots--Bruiser and Marigold.
Usually, each team stands on the sidelines of the field separately. This year, to keep the green and gold spirit alive all throughout the game, the teams will rotate and intermingle with each other at different times during the game.
“You may see Coed, All-Girl and Dance team one time, and then you’re going to see Coed and All-Girl together building new pyramids, doing new different things on the sidelines,” Hankins said.
She also said the squad will have new uniforms in October.
“We can’t wait until the game in October for the Go Gold event to showcase our brand new uniforms,” Hankins said. “Each team has a new gold uniform, and we’re going to light up all of Nacogdoches with our wonderful Baylor Gold.”
She hopes these new additions will keep the Baylor fans’ morale up whether the team is winning or losing.
“It is our responsibility to make sure that our players that are working so hard on the field or on the court that they know we 100% are backing them,” she said. “We’re yelling as loud as we can. We’re getting our fans engaged. Our band is being as loud as they can because we want them to fill our energy and take that energy into their next move on the field or the court.”
While the Spirit Squad is adding these new additions, the squad is not new to Baylor. Hankins said the Spirit Squad has been a part of Baylor sporting events for 102 years.
She said the team has grown a lot because of how well the athletic teams are doing.
“Over the past couple of years, we have grown our program in numbers because we have so many incredible athletic programs that we support throughout the year, so many wonderful university events, and it also allows us to get out into the community more than we were able to before,” Hankins said.
The Songleaders are the sparkly ones on the field, and they have won three national championships since they started competing in 2019.
The mascot team has won two national championships back-to-back since starting competitions in 2021. Hankins said Marigold won twice.
While there are many parts of the Spirit Squad, they all practice together.
“I think just with us being so united and being housed within the same program, it just makes sure that we’re all doing the same things when we come into the venue,” Hankins said. “Regardless, if it’s the dance team or it’s the cheer team or it’s the mascot team, you know you’re going to get the best of the best when it comes to spirit for Baylor.”
The Baylor Spirit Squad will be at the kickoff of Baylor’s season Saturday for the community kickoff. She said the Spirit Squad is partnering with the McLennan Community College Dance Team for this game day, and the Songleaders will perform with the team during halftime.
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