Blue Crew looks to change culture of Geneseo athletics

If you've been to any hockey or basketball game in the past few months, you have probably seen and heard members of the Blue Crew in action – a formal attempt at cheering on Geneseo sports teams.

"Many schools have very large student cheer sections, so why not Geneseo?" asked Sharon West, Geneseo's head athletic trainer, senior women administrator and now the originator of the Blue Crew. She contacted some students that were already passionate about Geneseo athletics, asking them if they would like to be the first members of the crew.

Juniors Nathanael Geraci, Ed Bryant and Andrew Nicholson, the three founding members of the Blue Crew, have received thanks and encouragement from grateful coaches that acknowledged the positive effect a student cheering section has on their players.

"The Blue Crew is just getting started, but we have a core group of very dedicated students that love to show their school spirit and they are trying to spread the word to get as many people as possible involved," said West.

"We want to change the culture, spark some excitement, just really get people excited about going to games and make it something where you go and you cheer and you're actually proud of your teams instead of just showing up and not really caring," said Geraci.

With the backing of West and the athletic department, the Blue Crew has put up posters around campus and given away more than 70 Blue Crew T-shirts to promote their efforts. As more of a grassroots movement, the group maintains Facebook and Twitter accounts to get more people involved.

While their numbers are still low for a college cheering section, they hope to grow into a recognized organization. With a larger group, the Blue Crew would like to support every sport on campus. In addition to cheering, West is interested in the possibility of working with some local businesses to sponsor halftime contests to get the rest of the crowd involved.

The lack of a cohesive cheering section has been attributed to a general lack of school spirit in the past at Geneseo. While you may see an increase in attendance for playoff games or when teams have been successful, the strong academic focus of Geneseo has trumped support of athletics in the past.

"Every day I see how hard our student athletes work to balance their academics with their athletic participation, and when we have home contests it is really great to see a large crowd present to cheer these student athletes on," said West.