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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Wofford’s cheer team is co-ed

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THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE 90s—

Some of you may have already noticed the lone man on the sidelines at the football games, cheering on the Terriers with the rest of the cheerleading team. Freshman Matt Allen is the first male cheerleader on Wofford’s team since the late 90s and hopes that more men will follow him and join the team as well.

Allen, a Spartanburg native, says, for him, it didn’t start with cheerleading.

“I started tumbling as a sophomore through a gym called Flip Tyme and then decided to go out for the cheer team a year later. I cheered at the football games but I was primarily on the teams for competition cheer,” he says.

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Allen, who graduated from Spartan High, says he chose Wofford for its prestigious academics and the short distance from his family and gym where he also teaches lessons. Allen says he always wanted to cheer in college and plans on cheering until he graduates.

Between Flip Tyme and Wofford’s team, Allen keeps a packed schedule.

“I have two practice days a week for Wofford and three for Flip Tyme. I teach classes there Monday through Thursday, usually from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; classes range from true beginners all the way up to advanced level tumblers and on the weekends I teach private lessons for those that sign up. It’s basically all I do.”

With such a huge time commitment between cheer, tumbling and studying business and finance, Allen says, “At first it was a struggle to keep up with academics,” but then adds, “I’ve got it down pat now!”

With all the big schools and universities sporting co-ed teams with multiple male cheerleaders, what’s up with Wofford’s? Lisa DeFreitas, class of ’88, was on the team from ’84-’88 and coached from ’89-’95. Although it was a struggle for men to join, the cheer team still had its fair share of them during those years.

DeFreitas says, “We used to spend weeks stalking guys in the cafeteria. We targeted ex-athletes and recruited football players to cheer with us during basketball season.”

There are some great advantages to having men on the team. The team can stunt (that is, throw each other up in the air and create human pyramids) a lot better and easier with men. Stunting can be performed one on one and can be more spontaneous. Men are typically louder as well. Allen says, “Guys are generally better with tumbling and stunting.”

When asked about more men joining the team in the future Allen says, “I hope so. It makes the team a lot better the more guys there are.” And c’mon guys…who wouldn’t want all that one on one time with all those pretty girls?

— David Wheatley

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