By Evan Grice
When it comes to Piedmont, athletics is usually the first thing that comes to mind.
But, another thing which drives opposing teams crazy during any sporting event at Piedmont High is the following of students which turn out for every sporting event.
With their creative chants and fierce loyalty to one another, it’s not hard to see what drives the success of Piedmont Wildcat and Lady Wildcat athletics.
“Most of us are student athletes, and the rest of us are students,” Senior Matt Capshaw said. “It brings us together as a family being able to support one another. We’re all there for each other no matter the sport or season it is. Getting the players hyped up is something we enjoy. The important thing for us is being able to represent our school in a positive way just like the athletes do. Whenever the athletes are excited and happy, that’s when we feel excited and happy.”
Lady Wildcat volleyball player Anna Young added that it’s the emotion of the crowd and the way they fire up the players which makes all the difference in the world.
“Without the student section, I don’t get fired up,” she said. “I mean I still play hard, but there’s just something about people yelling and screaming along with making a lot of noise. When we have a great student section turnout, it makes me want to hit the ball even harder. We love showing that this is our team, and this is what we can do. I don’t know what we would do without them.”
Piedmont softball players Robbie Collins and Bre Davis added, the students provide that extra edge for the players when they get down as they help bring them back up and get ready to make the next play.
“Having a good student section makes a huge difference in the games,” Collins said. “Knowing you have your classmates behind you ready to pick you up whether you do good or bad, it’s a great thing to have mentally as a player.”
“It makes me focus a little harder knowing they are watching us,” Davis said. “I’ve always believed in treating others how you want to be treated, and that works with cheering on other teams as well. When I’m not in season, I’m always making sure I’m out there cheering on whichever team is playing.”
In some cases though, the students love having the chance to come out and watch quality athletics on display. With Piedmont sporting teams which make the state tournaments in most sports, it’s not hard to see why the appreciation for the product is so visible.
“It’s awesome getting to hear that the athletes appreciate how much we cheer for them,” PHS student Kevin Duong said. “But, I mainly love getting to come out and watch such great athletes putting on a great display for the fans. Getting to see everyone work together as a community supporting one another is the important thing. When you see all the smiles on the athletes and the students faces, that’s when we know it’s all worth it.”
If there’s evidence to support the student sections impact on athletics at Piedmont, one need look no further than this current season for the varsity basketball teams.
Both the Wildcats and Lady Wildcats have yet to lose at Collett Fieldhouse this season.
“It makes me feel great knowing that people want to come watch us play,” Piedmont Lady Wildcat basketball player Hayden Priddy said. “I personally feel very proud knowing we have such a great group of students who will support us, and then turn around and support another sport just as strong as ours. That really says a lot about how great of a school Piedmont really is.”
While many students can’t always make it out to Wildcat wrestling matches, PHS wrestler Brody Largent said when they do come out, they come out in force.
“It makes me motivated when students come out to watch us,” he said. “The feeling I get is that they are taking notice of the sport, and I want to help make sure I give them something worth watching and supporting. I feel like they help bring out the best in me as a competitor.”