By Aaron Parkman
At the heart of Tech’s school spirit is the white-and-gold clad cheerleading team, known for their ability to enthuse large crowds of Yellow Jacket fans. Composed of both men and women, the team is at every football and basketball game, including those that are away.
Alex Trocheck is one of nine males on the cheerleading team as well as one of the most experienced, with a whopping five seasons now under his belt. As a chemical engineering major and a brother at Chi Psi fraternity, Trocheck somehow finds time to balance schoolwork, athletics and a social life.
If you have been to a Tech football game, you already know Trocheck, because he is the one who carries out the big flag at the beginning of games and after every touchdown. When asked what he enjoys the most, he has an unusual answer. “I can legitimately say that my favorite part is when we’re at away games and I run out onto the field with that flag and have 50,000 fans booing me, just me,” Trocheck said.
Of course, those boos are drowned out by cheers at home games, and Trocheck says he is able to enjoy the away games because he likes the attention and he doesn’t take things personally.
Another thing Trocheck likes about the team is the camaraderie he finds with his teammates. “Even though we’re co-ed, it is just like any other sport. In the long run, we all get along great,” Trocheck said. He spends most of his time on the field with his partner, Jessica Wessel, as well as some time off the field. As a fifth-year and fourth-year duo, Trocheck and Wessel are close friends and often take on the responsibility of coaching younger teammates on the more difficult stunts.
Off the field, Trocheck has also found time to co-op and look for a job, which he will enter when he graduates in August. After doing a co-op at Georgia Pacific, Trocheck says he has discovered a multitude of routes one can take with chemical engineering, and he is still looking at different areas of interest.
As far as being an athlete goes, Trocheck likes the perks associated with it. “The perks you get for being a male cheerleader are more than you think,” Trocheck said. Everything from a private dining hall to assistance with school costs are included when you are an athlete, which is standard practice for most big universities.
Of course, all of those perks come with hard work. Trocheck says he spends four to five days a week at the Athletic Association for practices and workouts. At a typical practice, the focus is primarily stunting, and the stunts done in pairs get a lot of emphasis, according to Trocheck. “Coming from the sports background I do, the first thing I noticed was the athletic ability that (stunting) demands,” Trocheck said. One of his favorite things about it is the ability to say that he can hold a person over his head.
When it comes to workouts, Trocheck says it is a mixture of routines. “It’s a combination between a football player’s workout and a swimmer’s workout,” he said. According to Trocheck, while the girls do a lot of cardio, the guys spend a lot of time in the weight room building the large muscle groups that support the tiny shoulder muscles necessary for stunting. After playing football and baseball at Shiloh high school, Trocheck says cheerleading has been a great way for him to stay in shape.
Trocheck says the team is very open, and if any guys are interested in trying out, the coach is always looking for new talent. Mindy Wire is the head coach, and although she does some recruiting, she is also open to walk-ons.
When asked if someone my size, 160 pounds, could make the team, Trocheck didn’t shoot me down, but responded by saying that “it’s a mixture of strength and technique.” Maybe I should leave the heavy lifting up to the professionals. I know the girls will thank me.