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The four senior BYU cheerleaders Jessica Walker, Sam Lund, Anna Richey and Cameron Larsen have been leading fans through athletic greatness for four years. They have developed into true leaders on and off the field, representing Brigham Young University in the most peppy way possible.
“I love the overall experience of what college can be in such a good environment like BYU,” Richey said. “The experience that comes with BYU is like none other, because we have the Honor Code and the Church.”
BYU gives athletes the special opportunity to integrate what they love to do with the beliefs and standards that are important to them in life. The atmosphere at BYU that mixes college life with Church standards has inspired these student athletes as they mix academics and sports with their personal beliefs.
This program has helped the seniors develop qualities and attributes that have helped them grow and have guided them towards their future.
“Everything that I’ve gained from it and the person that I’ve become from being on this team, it’s helped me become who I am, and I’ve grown because of this program,” Richey said.
Walker, Richey and Lund have learned important life lessons from the experiences they have had as captains of the Spirit Squad.
“Being a captain is kinda hard because you feel a lot of responsibility for the girls you are taking care of, but that’s what I love is taking care of everybody,” Lund said. “I love getting to know the girls better and feeling that love for them, and I think that will help me later in life feeling that love for others.”
These girls have truly risen to the occasion, becoming leaders the team can depend on for help and guidance. Larsen explained how becoming captains has been an important transition, because they set the standard for the rest of the team to follow.
The senior captains understand the importance of whom they represent and are grateful for the opportunity they have to do what they love while wearing the BYU name.
“It’s so fun going out there and representing the Church,” Walker said. “We go out there as a team, and people see on our shirts that we go to BYU. So wherever we go it’s awesome, because we get to represent the University.”
Richey has discovered that as captains they become selfless and put others’ needs before their own. It’s this new attitude that has helped this squad build a strong family bond as the captains led to share the joy and responsibility of representing two big names.
“Every success that (BYU) has feels like a success for me,” Lund said.
Every BYU fan who has passed through LaVell Edwards Stadium or the Marriott Center knows the feeling of rising and shouting as the Cougars come out. Without the leadership of devoted and spirited cheerleaders, chanting “B-Y-U” and singing “Go, Cougars” in the winning moments of the big game would be much less in the perfect sync that drives the players to greatness.
“When BYU basketball played Gonzaga, it was towards the end of the first half, and BYU was coming back, and I started a ‘B–Y–U’ chant, and the whole Marriott Center erupted; so over 20,000 people cheering ‘B–Y–U’ and knowing you’re the one that started it, that feeling is so cool,” Larsen said. “Nothing can replace being in front of 60,000 people, and that’s what sets BYU apart from other programs. Nowhere else are your going to get 60,000 dedicated fans in the stadium cheering with you.”
Cheering for the teams they love the past four years has helped these cheerleaders have a memorable college experience as they have grown and become better people while representing their school and beliefs.