In the stands: The return of the Pioneer Pit

It’s a Friday night and students are standing on the bleachers in Pioneer Field. The varsity football team is playing down below. The crowd roars and cheers for every touchdown and good play; everyone is jumping and yelling. The student section leaders stand at the front of the section starting chants and hyping everyone up. This is the school’s student section on Football Friday Nights.

The student section is an essential part of student life. While it is largest at the football games, the student section attends all types of athletic events to support the school.

“The student section is called the Pioneer Pit. We go to all sporting events and cheer on our school as one big group,” student section leader and senior Lauren Berend said. 

Last year, there was no student section due to COVID-19. Now, the student section is back, and students couldn’t be happier.

“Compared to last year, we have almost no restrictions, so we wanted to be better than ever,” Berend said. “We increased our media outreach, as well as increased our fundraising to create insanely fun events such as throwing powder during drumline or hosting food and Slip ‘N Slides at the weekly tailgate.”

The student section leaders this year are seniors Lauren Berend, Josh Sorensen, Regan Yamasaki and Matt Wolfe. The leaders have a big responsibility to make sure the student section turns out a success.

“As student section leaders, we plan, organize and develop fun events for the student body to become closer outside of school,” Berend said. “We lead cheers and create theme nights to increase involvement in cheering on our hardworking school.”

Each week, there are different themes for the students to dress up as for the games. Some examples of themes include space night, Hawaiian and whiteout.

“The themes are decided from past traditions, while taking weather into account and the types of games, such as homecoming or military appreciation night,” Berend said.

At the games, the student section is loud and full of school spirit. Chants are yelled and students jump around to cheer on the school.

“The crowd element in our student section is absolutely wild. Since we haven’t been in the stands for a while, everyone came back ready to get hype,” Berend said. “The freshmen and sophomores are still learning the ropes, but by the end of the year, we hope to see everyone jumping with us.”

Underclassmen had yet to experience the student section until this year. This new experience has students very excited to show support for the school.

“When I go to sporting events, I look forward to hanging out with my friends and cheering for the school,” sophomore Arefa Kapasi said. “My favorite part of the student section is all of the cheering and clapping to motivate the team.”

The student section doesn’t happen without any hard work, though. Behind the scenes, many things are done to make it all possible.

“Student section leaders send out information for tailgates and themes, and help clean the stands after the games,” Assistant Principal Joshua Battistone said.

The student section is important in supporting the sports teams and becoming one as everyone cheers. The athletic events unite the school as students come to support the Pioneers.

“Personally, I think having a student section is almost mandatory,” Berend said. “Without one, there’s no encouragement to attend sporting events to cheer on your school. This would then have a butterfly effect on sports participation from the student body.”

Since the Pioneer Pit has been back this year, students have been attending various sports events and having fun cheering together.

“Students have been eager and ready to have a student section,” Battistone said. “They’re very happy to be back.”