Basketball’s backbone: the Rowdy Rams, VCU cheer squad

Photo by Erin Edgerton
Photo by Erin Edgerton

The students who follow and cheer for the Black and Gold throughout the season — the VCU cheer squad and Rowdy Rams — do their best to make every road and tournament arena feel like a sold-out Siegel Center.

Rodrigo Magana, coordinator of orientations and socials for the Rowdy Rams, said he feels like the students who commit time to traveling with the team do not get the credit they deserve.

“I don’t think most people realize that there are students that actually put an effort into traveling for away games and conference tournaments,” Magana said.

In the shadow of an elite program that has reached the last seven NCAA tournaments and won 24 games each of the past 11 seasons, it is understandable how these dedicated students fly under the radar. Despite the lack of recognition from the rest of the student body, however, they’re recognized by the team itself.

“I feel they loved having us there to cheer them on,” said Sarah Wheeler, a senior Rowdy Rams member. “They especially noticed us at the A-10 tournament and we put all our effort into making as much noise as we could.”

VCU head coach Will Wade made his appreciation for the traveling students known this past Saturday after the Rams completed a season sweep of the University of Richmond in the A-10 tournament semifinals.  

“We appreciate all our fans coming — we’ve got blue collar, hard working folks,” Wade said. “Those people sacrifice a lot to come watch us play. It helped us, it was like a home game in there. The least we can do is lay it on the line for them.”

The cheer squad and Rowdy Rams took a six hour bus trip to Pittsburgh last weekend for the Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament.

“It was awesome being able to experience the excitement and enthusiasm in the PPG Arena in Pittsburgh,” Wheeler said.

Long bus trips are the least of the sacrifices the student section and cheerleaders make. VCU cheer squad member Casey Cole said the time commitment is sizable, but it’s all worth it.

“The amount of time it takes just to prepare to show up to these events adds up,” Cole said. “But in the end the thrill of the games makes us happy. I’m grateful to be a part of the support team and appreciate the opportunities we are given.”

To join the Rowdy Rams costs a mere $35 for an entire year. Members receive a complimentary t-shirt and are also eligible for discounts at various locations in and around VCU’s campus, including Hibachi Box, SweetFrog and Virginia Book Company.

Open tryouts for the cheer squad will be held on Saturday, May 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Stuart C. Siegel Center Auxiliary Gym, located on the east end of the building.

“We took away memories and experiences that will last me a lifetime,” said Erica Medina, a senior on the cheer squad. “Being part of the team is a huge sacrifice in terms of time spent and energy, but it’s been the most worthwhile experience.”

Erin Edgerton & Will Daniel, Contributing Writers

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