Generals give their ‘Front Line’ lots to cheer about

Generals give their ‘Front Line’ lots to cheer about
Tom Rife

Members of Wooster High’s “Front Line” student cheering section eagerly wait for a free throw to drop in during the Generals’ conference-clinching basketball game against Mount Vernon this past Tuesday.


So maybe the “Cameron Crazies” at Duke University are crazier. Yet the members of Wooster High School’s “Front Line” student body cheering section rank right up there with the loudest, proudest devotees in the Ohio Cardinal Conference. Come to think of it, the Generals’ boys basketball team they root for is at the top of the OCC pack this season too.

Even though this past Tuesday was a “school night,” enthusiastic, energized students stood, as always, in the bleachers directly behind the Wooster bench. They departed happy after watching their favorite team snare its second conference championship in the last five years.

Dressed in red — there is a different theme each event — in support of the American Heart Association’s special activities at the game, the Front Liners “hooped it up” to help the Generals take down the visiting Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets 54-31, Wooster’s 11th victory in as many league outings this season.

“Student support has been amazing this year,” Generals head coach Michael Snowbarger said. “They’ve really rallied around the kids. They’ve been loud all year.”

It’s easy to see the effect the Front Line has on the players on the court. Snowbarger said his athletes definitely soak up the group’s positive vibes. The community in general also has turned out in force for most games. The team is entertaining and just plain fun to watch.

“They like the energy, and they feed off it,” Snowbarger said. “A lot of those kids cheering are their friends. It all goes back to the fact that we have a great group of kids on the basketball team this year. The students enjoy cheering them on because they are such a nice group of kids. They play hard and just have a lot of fun on and off the basketball court.”

Like the roundball squad itself, even the “Front Line” benefits from senior leadership. Two of the most active in the loyal student group are Ian Michaud and Maddie McCoy. Both are outstanding WHS athletes in their own right, and they understand how a vocal following rubs off on the participants in any sport. “The Line” is even more visible during football season.

“We’re trying to get more bodies out at some of the other games like soccer and lacrosse,” said McCoy, a dynamic volleyball player who also is talented in track and field.

“I think it just shows that we care about each other as athletes. We like to be involved with each other,” said Michaud, who participates in lacrosse and soccer. “There’s no rivalries between the teams. It shows that we’re all really close here at Wooster.”

McCoy said meetings often occur with the school cheer coach and language arts teacher Jennifer Wright. Potential themes are suggested, ones that will foster more school spirit and student participation.

Of course some ideas resonate with the students more than others. McCoy said one of the most popular themes every basketball season is “Beach Night.” Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops are a must, along with props such as inflatable pool toys.

The “Front Line” also has promoted such topics as Camo Night, Blackout and College Gameday.

Snowbarger said the growth of school spirit goes hand-in-hand with the success of the team.

“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” he said. “When I first started here, we had some parents and a little bit of a student section. Now we have a lot of community members, and new faces have come on board. It’s continuing to grow, and it’s great to see. It’s extremely satisfying. It goes back to all the hard work these kids put in throughout the summer and during the season. It pays off.”

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