Covid restrictions don’t restrict school pride

4 senior cheerleaders cheer outside Mansion Park fence during rival football game.

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Courtesy of Andria Kessler

Yay! Adriana Kessler, Alyssa Kovach, Lizzy Frank and Paige Vallei pose for a picture after the Oct. 2 game.

Ben Blackie, Editor In Chief

On Oct. 2 new guidelines enforced by Gov. Tom Wolf threw  Mansion Park capacity restrictions out the window. Originally the school prepared to sell 5,000 tickets for the Altoona vs. Hollidaysburg football game. Due to last minute guidelines by Gov. Wolf, only 250 people were allowed in the stadium. To keep numbers down, the band, cheerleaders and lioneers couldn’t be at the game.  To keep their school pride alive, seniors Lizzy Frank, Paige Vallei, Adriana Kessler and Alyssa Kovach cheered outside of Mansion Park

“Since we weren’t able to cheer inside the fence for our last Hollidaysburg game, Lizzy and I felt it was necessary to stay and cheer on the team the best we could,” Vallei said. 

“We wanted to stay and support our football players even though the circumstances told us we basically couldn’t cheer,” Frank said.

This year, the squad consists of 37 cheerleaders ranging from freshman to seniors.

“They [cheerleaders] thought it was funny, and they also wished that we were there too,” Vallei said. 

Fans and coachers were thrown off when they heard the cheers coming from behind the score board.

I think it showed not only the fans, but everyone who was there that we are dedicated to what we do and to show them that no matter the circumstances, we are there for our school.”

— Vallei

“When I first heard cheers coming from outside the fence, I was initially happy to see that they still  wanted to still be a part of the game and support our football players,” football parent Sue Blackie said.

“This affected the fans and players greatly. I think because they heard us and it helped them cheer louder for the football players,” Kessler said. 

After the game, Kessler posted a selfie of the girls on her Facebook.

Smile! Pictured top to bottom, Alyssa Kovach, Lizzy Frank, Adriana Kessler and Paige Vallei pose for a picture after the game. The picture was posted on Facebook and attracted attention from Hollidaysburg and Altoona fans.

“I made a post on Facebook, and we had amazing reactions supporting us,” Kiser said.

“Not only our parents reacted; it was parents, teachers and students from all over Pennsylvania. It was really humbling to see that we made a great impression on others,” Vallei said. 

The limited capacity also affected band and football players.

“Although we’re not playing for the fans, the atmosphere was completely different without the student section, band or cheerleaders. Hearing them cheer brought back a sense of normalcy to the game,” senior Austin Frye said. 

“It felt really weird to be over there [Columbia Park] instead of on the field but at least we could perform,”  senior majorette Kendra Houp said. 

The Mountain Lions lost the game 26-12.

It was definitely a different atmosphere and felt odd, but we were all just excited that we could go out and compete despite the changes that occurred,” senior Kyle Murray said.