USF Spirit Squad Dazzles The Hilltop

Pictured from left to right: Thalia Fernandez, Erica Jimenez, Kaitlyn Edejer, Marley Miyamoto, Sophie Dubray, Lamiya Cotton, Alondra Villegas, Emily Mutchie, Mary Cooper, Maya Juarez. Photo courtesy of Chris M. Leung/Dons Athletics.

USF’s Spirit Squad is the official combined cheer and dance team for the Dons. Although they are most known for appearing at basketball games during timeouts and halftime, they also make appearances for other teams such as volleyball and soccer in the fall, and baseball in the spring. 

According to USF Athletics, Spirit Squad members are ambassadors who have a goal to promote school spirit while sharing their passion for performance and fan engagement with the community. Every year, the team is composed of 10 dancers, who are selected each fall semester. 

Sophomore nursing major and Spirit Squad member, Alondra Villegas said, “I believe that the Spirit Squad has an outstanding role in athletics. We consistently strive to cheer on our basketball teams and provide school spirit. It is important for us to keep high energy for our teams and our Dons fans as we fight for a win.” 

Villegas has been in competitive dancing and cheer since a young age. She said, “Dance has always been a major part of my life and joining Spirit Squad was an opportunity to keep doing what I love at a collegiate level. After graduating from USF, I hope to pursue dance on a professional level.”

The Spirit Squad dances to electric, hip-hop, and jazz music. The organization is led by two student co-leads, who create the choreography for each performance.

Lamiya Cotton, one of the co-leads, said, “I have met a lot of great individuals through being on spirit squad and wouldn’t have had that opportunity if I was not. Although our team isn’t the largest, we still try our best to make the games really fun by starting chants, performing, and attending extra events, all with a smile on our faces of course.”

The junior communications major added, “Spirit Squad was a little nerve-wracking since they were more dance-focused and I had more experience as a cheerleader.” 

Erica Jimenez, a senior business entrepreneurship major and the second co-leads for Spirit Squad said, “Coming up with choreography is normally sassy and dynamic. I like to freestyle and just listen to the music a bunch of times and see what comes to mind.” 

Jimenez has been a dancer her whole life and was a cheerleader throughout high school, prompting her to join the Spirit Squad in her freshman year. She added, “This is my first year being a captain so I would say the entire season was super special. We as a team value kindness to all fans and our love for the Dons community. We are here to motivate, cheer on, and support the Dons!” 

The Spirit Squad will be performing at the USF Night at the San Francisco Giants game at Apr. 22nd. For more inquiries such as joining the team and event involvement, contact usfspiritsquad@gmail.com for more information. 

Editor-in-Chief: Megan Robertson, Chief Copy Editor: Sophia Siegel, Managing Editor: Jordan Premmer, Sports Editor: Chase Darden

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