Sideline? Mainstay. – Behind the scenes of Allegheny’s hype squad


Roman Hladio

The cheer team hypes up the crowd at the Blue and Gold weekend game on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Picture a packed NBA stadium. The hometown heroes are up and the crowd is deafening. It is halftime, and half of the fans in the stands go out to the concourse area to get a hot dog and rehydrate. Suddenly, the music in the arena starts picking up, and the energy is palpable.
Cheerleaders are rushing down at halfcourt to begin their routine with excitement, shaking their pom-poms and adding to the atmosphere. They provide intensity and dedication to the team, and frankly do not get enough credit for the work they put in.
Allegheny is no different. Not only is the cheer team in charge of the entertainment you see at the games, but also everything that goes on behind the scenes to make cheer possible.
“I have had parents and athletes come up to us, thanking us for being there,” said Megan Lowenguth, ’24. “But sometimes there are negative comments about the cheer team, because we are not a varsity team. The really rewarding part is knowing that people appreciate us being there.”
The team puts in a lot of effort to make sure they are providing entertainment for the fans. Every week they practice and come up with new ways to improve their performance.
“Right now we are working on a new dance that we can present at the basketball games,” said Samantha Truzzi, ’23. “We have some really good, exciting songs. It will get everyone involved.”
Truzzi has been a team co-captain for Allegheny Cheerleading since her sophomore year, and is also the current president of the club. Her duties are long listed, including prepping practice, working on new stunts and moves to perform, and taking care of the roster while making sure that everyone is on the same page.
This year, she had the opportunity to help choreograph a dance the team plans to unveil in the near future during one of the basketball games. It is her first time in this role, and she said it was exciting to be a part of the process of designing the dance.
Lowenguth is another co-captain of the team helping with the development of the dance. She expressed her willingness to put in the extra time in order to perform at the highest levels, and she also helps other cheer members outside of the scheduled practice times to make sure they are caught up.
“A lot of the choreography is going to showcase strengths of different members,” Lowenguth said. “We have some girls that are really fantastic when they are jumping, and then there are people who are really good at tumbling.”
Lowenguth wanted to encompass what would bring out the best of each individual. During the process of creating the dance she was open to ideas from everybody, and compiled the best thoughts everyone brought forth to allow the group to shine.
Lowenguth was a dancer. After suffering a back injury early in her high school career, her plans were put on hold as to what was next for her.
She was encouraged to join the cheer team by two of her friends during her first year at Allegheny. At first, Lowenguth was hesitant given her recovery and that she had never cheered before. However, after spending years with the other girls and working on her craft, she could not be more happy that she made the bold decision to try something new.
“This is the closest that I will ever get to dancing again,” Lowenguth. “I had a deep passion for it, and (cheer) has given me that. I am grateful for it.”
Handling the finances of the team and having another big role during the games is Alexis Furbush, ’24. She started cheering last year for the Gators after returning to campus from the COVID-19 pandemic. After being encouraged by two foreign exchange students to try out, she made an immediate impact and now handles a big role.
Furbush is in charge of ordering new uniforms for the team, along with other apparel. She regularly attends the Allegheny Student Government meetings for managing the cheer budget.
“(ASG) has been very reasonable,” Furbush said. “I feel like every club wants more money, but we can definitely work with what we have.”
Furbush took on many leadership positions in high school, which has helped with the ability to perform her job now. Furbush is also a former dancer, and was introduced by a family friend to performing when she was three years old. Her movement patterns and ways of maneuvering the body have translated into becoming a standout cheerleader for Allegheny.
The cheer team also attends the football games. Last season, the team joined together with the “Little Gritters,” a youth cheerleading organization in Meadville, thanks to Latesha Manning, who is coach for both teams. The Gators had the chance to show the younger girls the ropes, and gave them the experience of what it is like to perform at a college game.
The organization will finish the season with men and women’s basketball. After the season concludes, they will host tryouts for next semester.