Sweet Sendoff: Campus-turned-cheerleaders rally behind Pioneer men

Any trace of a navy blue tracksuit walking past the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center help desk caused the growing crowd to cheer.

Despite the constant drizzle of rain, about 100 members from campus and the surrounding community turned out Thursday morning to give the Marietta College Men’s Basketball team a warm sendoff as they prepare to take on Whitworth College on Friday in Wooster, Ohio.

Just before the team filed out of their locker room to board their charter bus, Wendy Thieman ’04 led a volley of cheers, pointing to one side of the crowd and then the other, directing a round of “Let’s go—Pioneers!” followed by “We are—MC!”

Rather than rushing through the group in a long blue blur, the men’s team walked through the crowd of fans, waving and smiling at their well-wishers.

“We are very proud of these guys,” said Myra McIntyre, who is one of the caretakers of Fayerweather Hall. Just before the rally, she and fellow Physical Plant workers stood outside of the DBRC while rooting for various members of the team as they loaded luggage into the bus. “We want them to know how much we’re rooting them on.”

Kaitlin Huck ’13 (Lowell, Ohio) was one of the few students on campus who attended the rally. She plans to drive to Wooster on Friday to watch the game.

“I’m happy to see so many people stand behind this team,” she said. “I’ve pretty much been to every home game and I really want to be there for them tomorrow.”

The 11th-ranked Pioneers (27-3) will play top-ranked Whitworth (27-1) at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the College of Wooster’s Timken Gymnasium. Fifth-ranked Wooster (28-2) will go up against Cabrini College (24-5) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Tomorrow night’s winners will face off at 7 p.m. Saturday in Timken Gymnasium—with the winner progressing to the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball “Final Four” in Salem, Va.

Just before rejoining the team, Head Coach Jon VanderWal took a moment to answer a few questions about his team’s mood.

“I’m glad that the College came out today—it really gives the players a perspective of how exciting this is…It’s great to have this much support for our team,” VanderWal said.