Spirit squad receives first place, runner-up victories at national competition

Bruiser and Marigold win for the third year at the College Classic National Competition. Photo courtesy of Jessica Stokes

By Raylee Foster | Staff Writer

The Baylor mascots remain undefeated for three years in a row in the College Classic National Competition in Orlando, Florida, and the Songleaders Dance team went home with two runner-up positions, which has not happened since 2021.

Cibolo junior Shea Santos and Monument, Colo., senior Jessica Stokes, Baylor Mascot’s current captains, said this year, Bruiser and Marigold went into the competition knowing they were the team to beat. Santos said when preparing for next year’s competition, the team anticipates being a target for other schools to defeat.

“This year we were like, ‘We’re the reigning champion so everyone’s coming to beat us,’ and I think next year it’s going to be even more because when we go to completion, our coach is like, ‘At this point Bruiser and Marigold are just competing against each other,'” Santos said. “Next year I think people are definitely coming for us saying Baylor is the one to beat.”

For the mascot’s competitions, both Bruiser and Marigold perform individual 90-second skits. This year’s theme for Bruiser was Top Gun, and Marigold’s performance was designed after Mario from the Super Mario Bros. video games.

The team started brainstorming performance ideas since August 2022, and sought to pick themes that brought out each mascot’s personality.

“Something that we always strive for is for Bruiser and Marigold to be able to showcase their own personalities through their skit, so obviously Top Gun really showed Bruiser’s cool, cocky personality,” Santos said. “For Marigold, coming off of last year, she did a Candyland skit and it was cute and colorful so we knew we had to do something like that, but it was completely a coincidence that the Mario movie came out literally days before we competed.”

In addition to the Mascot’s performance in their individual skits, Stokes said they perform with the song team as well. The song routine placed second, falling short to Eastern Michigan University by 0.24 points.

“Song competes two routines, one of those is called, ‘Game Day,’ and it is the Baylor traditions and what our game days look like,” Stokes said. “Bruiser and Marigold were in that routine, as well as the rest of our spirit squad.”

Fort Worth senior and captain of the Song leader team, Karsen Burns, said the team consists of 31 members, where 15 compete in one routine and 16 compete in the other.

Burns said placing second in their “Game Day” routine, as well as their team routine, was a rewarding experience because of the hard work the team put in. She said the team organized routines in the fall, conducted tryouts, and then began working on performances in January.

“On the game day side, there were 14 teams competing in that and we lost by a fourth of a point, so it was really exciting to see that come to life and how you work hard beforehand and then get to go and pick up a trophy,” Burns said.

Santos, Stokes and Burns said they are all eager to begin preparation for the following competition. The mascot team said they will have tryouts soon and are hoping to add five new members to their team this upcoming season. Song team tryouts will be taking place next academic year.