Come one, come all: Athletic event attendance on the rise

Vikings athletics see a rise in student attendance at home

A huge student crowd cheers on the women’s volleyball team. Photo by Matthew Keyerleber

In past years, Cleveland State University sports have not received nearly the attention they deserve. Student-athletes work extremely hard on and off the field and student attendance has not mirrored this hard work. That all changed when the student organization Vicious Vikes attempted to rejuvenate the student crowd by organizing events that got students going to games.

Well, thanks in part to COVID-19 and the basketball teams coming off two championship seasons, CSU is seeing the student numbers go up at athletic events. Sports like volleyball and soccer are seeing big numbers of students show up, more than there have been in the past.

“Everyone has the spirit to be an active member in our community and we encourage everyone to support the school to the fullest extent!”

– Junior erika laboy

If the attendance, especially at volleyball games, is any sign of the future, then sports like basketball and lacrosse are in for a treat this season.

Vicious Vikes member junior Todd Letlow spoke on what it means to have students excited to be at events this year.

“I think everyone is just really happy to be back in person and the Vicious Vikes are very happy knowing that students missed the games and all the special events at CSU as much as we did.”

Letlow also believes that the energy the students bring year after year is so helpful for the athletes.

“At games, the players always feed off the energy of the crowd, so by getting the big turnouts we have been getting, it’s just making us even more excited to cheer at all events.”

Another founding member of the Vicious Vikes, junior Erika Laboy spoke on what it means to be a Vicious Vike.

“Even if you aren’t an official member of the club doesn’t mean you aren’t a Vicious Vike. The name is just a placeholder and everyone, no matter if you are a current student, alumni, or staff and faculty.”

For any students interested in joining the Vicious Vikes organization, you can get into contact with them through Vikes Connect or follow them on Twitter and Instagram @ViciousVikes.

The students really have been bringing the energy this year and the athletes have mirrored their excitement to have fans back in person. With events like CABsino breaking attendance records and other on-campus activities having tons of students show up, it feels as though student life has been reborn at Cleveland State.

Members of Vicious Vikes cheer on the men’s basketball team. Photo courtesy of Cleveland State University

Freshman Hope Kendzerski has been to multiple Cleveland State athletic events this year so far and plans to go to many more.

“It’s a great way to hang with friends and is a fun sort of tradition to do throughout the week. If it’s free, you might as well go!”

She also provided some suggestions for future events to get even more students to come.

“Have incentives and fun games to play during breaks in the games. Raffles, food, stuff like that.”

Another Cleveland State student, junior Tyrese Rushton, is thrilled to attend more sporting events this year after missing out on about a year and a half of events.

“I was not here for a year and a half, so I’m trying to actually do things with my life. You get to get free stuff and maybe even meet people. I’ve made a number of friends at events!”

Clearly, students are excited to be back in person here at Cleveland State as attendance at everything continues to rise. While the university has struggled to get away from its reputation as a commuter campus, the COVID-19 pandemic may have been the catalyst that sparked students’ needs to make in-person connections here on campus.

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