MEDIA, Pa. — Penn State Brandywine’s new Hype Squad is raising the level of excitement and engagement at home sporting events. The 15-member team was present at several soccer and volleyball games this fall, and the squad led cheers from the sideline and performed at halftime for the first home men’s basketball game on Nov. 9.
Second-year students Kaylha Grisales and Samantha Pitcher are captains of the Hype Squad. They both have extensive dance experience and were key to starting the squad, as each wanted to continue their involvement with dance and performing.
Grisales, a biology major from Texas, has been dancing since she was 4. She was on her high school dance team for four years, including two as captain, and has been teaching dance for four years. Pitcher, a psychology major from Coatesville, danced for the past 10 years with two dance studios and in her senior year with the high school dance team. She also taught dance at a studio for the past four years and has traveled the East Coast to learn from many well-known choreographers.
Their love of dance and performing led Grisales and Pitcher to form the Hype Squad at Brandywine.
“The goal of the Hype Squad is to provide a lot of school spirit for Brandywine,” Grisales said. “We want to make sure that everyone is feeling supported and cared for. And I feel like we have a good turnout at our games, but our goal is to make sure that more people come to these games, and just get the crowds hyped up and make the athletes feel really, really special.”
Pitcher added that the group wants to use dance to lift others.
“We just want to spread community spirit with dance,” she said. “Dance is a really big form of enjoyment and happiness. And I just want to have something that people can use for an outlet and have it affiliated with Penn State. It's just something that we wanted to do for fun.”
The team practices four times a week and asks each member to attend at least two of those practices. Before and after halftime of the games, the squad focuses on sideline cheers and getting the crowd hyped up. During halftime, the group performs a dance routine. The Hype Squad plans to be present at most basketball games this season and to compete against other schools next year.
Other key members of the team include second-year student Kaitlyn Nase, who is the hype leader and social media manager; Kasey Pitcher, who is serving as coach; and Michael Sturm, assistant teaching professor of human development and family studies and club adviser.
“We're really just trying to get ourselves out there and make a name for ourselves and try to spread school spirit and get other people interested for next year,” Pitcher explained.
“We just want it to be a fun community where students can come and be themselves, and just express their creativity and feel safe,” Grisales added.