Baylor Songleaders, Mascots Rack Up Awards at CampAug. 1, 2006
by Paige Patton, coordinator of news and information, (254) 710-3321
They spend most of the year bringing recognition to Baylor's athletic teams; now it's time the songleaders and mascots earned some praise for themselves. The squad spent four days at Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) camp in San Marcos with teams from about 20 other schools to learn chants, routines and "get game-ready," according to outgoing spirit coordinator Elizabeth Williams. They worked hard and have several impressive awards to show for it.
The songleader squad and mascots received the Most Collegiate Award, voted on by UCA staff. This award goes to the team that is "the epitome of what a college team should look like," said Williams. It takes the team's image and skill level into account and is one of the most prestigious awards given.
Baylor's mascots, Bruiser and Judge, were given the Leadership Award because of their roles as initiators and role models to the other mascots. During the week, the mascots make up skits and prepare routines to do during breaks in the games. The Leadership Award is voted on by all the other squads at camp, making it even more special for the mascots, said Williams.
Bruiser Bear is no stranger to notoriety. He was selected to be one of 12 members of the 2005 Capital One Bowl All-America Mascot Team. After weeks of nation-wide voting and appearing in his own promotional commercials, Bruiser finished in fifth place.
The songleader squad won second place in the home routine competition. New spirit coordinator Jennifer Baker choreographed the routine that was performed in competition with six other squads. Baylor's squad had not performed in this category in several years and were very proud of their high finish, said Williams.
A testimony of the skill and dedication of the songleaders and mascots, seven students were selected to be on UCA staff. They will travel across the country as some of the best dance instructors and mascots to teach high school and middle school cheer and dance camps. The students are:
Laura Blalock (mascot), a senior communication sciences and disorders major from Southlake
Rebekah Crosby, a junior speech communication/Russian major from Hattiesburg, Miss.
Jenna Ford, a junior communication sciences and disorders major from Deer Park
Jessica Giese, a sophomore education major from Plano
Tiffanie Harrison, a junior child and family studies major from Round Rock
Zach Kelty (mascot), a senior theater arts major from Sulphur Springs
Ryan Panasik, a junior business major from Garland
"I am so proud of how far the squad has come in four years," said Williams, who is moving to Alabama. "It was a great way to end my time with them. We showed everyone that we aren't just a small Christian school, but can compete with and surpass many schools larger than we are."
The songleaders and mascots will make their athletic debut at the first home football game, scheduled for Sept. 3 against TCU. For more information about the squad, contact Baker at (254) 710-6633 or visit the spirit squad website.