Pep teams bring spirit to Northeastern athletics

Jordan Baron, news staff

Imagine a sports game without the cheering crowd, blasting music and spirited fans. It isn’t the same, is it?

Spirit teams play an important role in creating an exciting atmosphere at a collegiate sporting event. At Northeastern, three different spirit teams are involved in varsity events. The cheerleading team, the dance team and the pep band follow each of the major sports programs to their home games and tournaments to cheer them on and create a fun and intense atmosphere for all to enjoy.

The Northeastern Cheerleading Team states on its website that its “mission is to promote school spirit and a positive attitude for those in the Northeastern community.” They do this by cheering at basketball home games and competing at a national tournament in Daytona Beach, Florida.

“We go to every men’s and women’s home basketball game,” said team captain Chelsea McGee. “Sometimes we’ll do other events on campus, like when they had the send-off for the hockey team for NCAA, we went to that.”

The cheerleading squad also accompanies the basketball teams to their respective postseason tournaments, whether it’s the conference playoff, NIT or NCAAs. This year, when the men’s basketball program won the CAA tournament, the cheerleaders were invited to attend NU’s NCAA tournament game in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“It was really cool. We got to obviously travel with the team there and just when we got there, getting off the plane there was media everywhere and even at the hotel, everyone was there to greet us,” McGee said. “Everything was just decked out in Northeastern [and] March Madness stuff. The whole city was just ready for March Madness, and that was an awesome experience.”

In addition to attending athletic events, the cheer team is a competitive team. They placed seventh in the nation for Division I all-girls teams during the 2016 season.

Also at various sporting events is the Northeastern Dance Team, which was founded in 2003.

“Northeastern Dance Team primarily does hip hop [and] jazz … and we are a team of usually about 18-20 dancers,” said team captain Adianna San Lucas. “We perform at all men’s and women’s basketball games, we do a competition in the year. It might be regional competition or a national competition. We go to the CAA tournaments and we have bonding events throughout the year. We dance for fun now that the season is over.”

San Lucas said their impact is important to the environment of games during the course of the season.

“I think that the dance team brings a lot of entertainment,” San Lucas said. “I think a lot of people look forward to seeing what we have for the year in terms of dances. We cheer a lot, and I’ve talked to different basketball players, and, for some games, they don’t have as big of a fan base because it is during the weekdays and kids have school or co-op. So, having at least a base fanbase to cheer them on, help support them [and] help motivate them, they really appreciate it.”

The dance team sometimes competes at the national competition down in Daytona Beach. The competition is an intense and vigorous experience in which members of the team must perform multiple times and work hours each day to perfect their craft while attempting to make the final round. When the team doesn’t attend the national competition, they compete in regional competitions closer to the university.

The third of Northeastern’s spirit teams is the pep band, which consists of more than 150 members that attend and play at almost all of Northeastern’s major sporting events, ranging from both men’s and women’s basketball and hockey to volleyball and beyond.

Pep band President TJ Fujiyoshi plays the trombone and has been a member of the team for four years.

“We’ve been focusing more on playing really well and playing loud and exciting tunes, but then also just being a really good fan section,” Fujiyoshi said. “It’s difficult because not as many people go to women’s volleyball or basketball or hockey [games], but if we’re there, we’re going to be loud. We’re going to be doing the same things we would do normally at men’s games.”

The pep band also travels with the teams, and attended the CAA, Hockey East and NCAA tournaments over the past year for basketball and hockey.