LARAMIE -- Have you ever wondered what the story is behind the University of Wyoming's Spirit Squad?

Who are they? Where are they from? What they do?

The UW Cheerleaders, and Wyoming mascot, Pistol Pete, have a great time supporting UW athletics and showcasing their skills at various sporting events, as well as making appearances throughout the community and all over the great state of Wyoming.

During the football season, 7220sports.com’s DJ Johnson will bring you the segment “Spirit Spotlight," highlighting some of the athletes that make it all happen.

 

UW cheer courtesy photos

 

Name: Janae Marcus

Hometown: Destin, Florida

School Year: Senior

Major: Kinesiology

Spirt Squad Year: Third

 

7220sports: After missing last year, give me the first thing that comes to your mind that describes how you feel about being on the sidelines for this year’s football season?

Janae: It was just so awesome being on the sideline -- and as soon as “Wanted Dead or Alive” came on -- the chills would run through your body, the fans would get loud and War Paint would run out onto the field. It was like reliving your first ever football game that your cheered at. It was just so exciting, the adrenaline was flowing and I was just happy and thrilled to see all of the fans back in the stadium, because that’s what makes Wyoming, Wyoming. We’re One Wyoming. We have the best fans in the state, in the nation and I stand by that – I love cheering here.

 

7220sports: Based on that answer, what has been the biggest challenge the team has faced this year?

Janae: That was something that we actually talked about early in the year with coach Danielle (Joy). We addressed how things would be different from last year, as we had to teach the new freshmen all of the new material, as well as the sophomores who didn’t get to experience a normal season the year before. So since the majority of our team was practically new, the biggest challenge was getting them ready for game days and what to expect at this level. Our team has been great and I think they killed it. We were all really excited for a normal season.

 

7220sports: Being from Destin, Florida, what was your journey to Laramie like?

Janae: I kind of grew up all over, but my dad actually lives in Denver. So, I would visit him and I actually went to college my freshman year in Colorado. I didn’t have a great experience cheering there. I had been in contact with Danielle and she just told me that I should come try out and cheer here. At first, I wasn’t sure about going to Wyoming because Laramie is such a small town and it was something totally different from what I was used to. But, I took a chance and went to a gameday and I found the fans, the level of commitment and everything that Laramie has to offer was what I was looking for. I was like 'this is where I want to cheer.' Attending that game and seeing the fans, the team, meeting the coaches, seeing the athletic facilities – that just all solidified that I wanted to come here. This program is like no other program that I have been exposed to and that’s why I’m here until I graduate.

 

7220sports: What is the best piece of advice you have gained from a coach, mentor or teammate?

Janae: I know this is going to sound cliché, but 'treat others how you want to be treated.' You should just simply be nice to everyone, as you don’t know what people are going through. I genuinely believe that following that simple saying makes life better for everyone.

 

7220sports: You mentioned that you work part-time for the Colorado Rockies organization. What exactly do you do for them and how did you get involved?

Janae: I do promotions and special events for the Rockies and only work part time during baseball season. So, on baseball gamedays I go in and do all sorts of things, like interacting with fans, picking contestants for competitions, picking people to be on the big screen, we upgrade spectator’s seats, we help Dinger if he needs anything. Also, if there’s a gate giveaway, we’ll ensure that the gates are stocked with the items and employees are present to hand those items out. We also support the organization’s outreach program and golf tournaments when needed. Having the opportunity to work for the Rockies has opened many doors for me. And being a huge people person, I love the fact that I get to interact with so many people. I got involved with the Rockies in a funny kind of way. Dinger, the Rockies mascot, actually used to be Pistol Pete at the University of Wyoming. While he was here, he and I became really good friends. So, when he got the job as Dinger, I applied to be his assistant. However, as the assistant, you have to be able to step into costume if needed and they told me that I was too short. So, he passed my resume on and I ended up getting selected to the position that I’m in now.

 

7220sports: Describe the relationship between the UW spirit squad and the community. Not only here in Laramie, but around the state.

Janae: I love being on the cheer team and the fact that we get to travel to Cowboy Joe Club events, fundraise all of the state, because that encourages us to get out and meet people throughout the state. It’s really great that we get to interact with so many alumni, fans, kids and everyone who supports the university.

 

7220sports: How important is an athlete's public image?

Janae: I think it’s very important. As a cheerleader you have a ton of little girls, and little boys, that look up to you, want pictures with you, and by presenting yourself in a positive manner you’re representing the university in a positive image. I could be out in public or at an event and someone could recognize me a cheerleader and recall some type of interaction they had with me, and it’s important that that encounter was a positive representation of myself and the university.

 

7220sports: If I gave you two plane tickets to anywhere in the world, where would you go and who would you take?

Janae: I would take my mom and we would go anywhere in Europe. She has never been to Europe, and she’s really into history and genealogy, finding out where all of our ancestors are from. So, I think it would be really special to her. I haven’t ever been out of the country either, so I think it would be really cool to see the different cultures and what Europe has to offer.

 

My favorite food is: steak

My favorite restaurant in Laramie is: Wyoming Rib & Chop

My favorite music artist is: Bad Bunny, Lil Uzi Vert and Post Malone

Beach or mountains? Beach

My favorite UW football player of all time is: Josh Allen. However, Larry Nance is my favorite UW athlete of all time

Describe Laramie in 5 words: Cold, small, loyal, One Wyoming

My favorite thing to wear is: A t-shirt, sweat shorts and Air Jordan 1 high tops

My favorite thing about football game is: When 'Wanted Dead or Alive' plays and War Paint leads the team onto the field

The one thing I can't live without is: My mom

Favorite quote: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9

For more about Janae, you can follow her on Instagram @janae_marcus and on TikTok @janae_marcus

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