Cheer Squad trip to Big 12 Tournament filled with spirit and service

While what happened in the T-Mobile Center was fun, as is often the case in BYU Athletics, it’s the things that happen away from the court that make a special kind of impact.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The 2024 Big 12 Basketball Championships were a memorable first-time experience for BYU players, staff and fans who all traveled to Kansas City for the conference’s premier annual basketball event. The same can be said for the BYU Cheer Squad, right there on the baseline, cheering on the Cougars and amping up the crowd.

And while what happened in the T-Mobile Center was fun, important and impactful, as is often the case in BYU Athletics, it’s the things that happen away from the court, field and/or tumbling matts that make a special kind of impact.


Near Kansas City are a few important Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint historical sites, as pioneers journeying from the midwest to Utah had multiple settlements throughout Missouri in the early history of the Church. The team spent time at the Independence Visitors’ Center, Liberty Jail and Adam Ondi Ahman.


“I am so grateful to be a part of a school that is both helping my spiritual and educational purposes in life. I have had the privilege of being able to travel with the BYU Cheer Squad a couple of times. Each time I’ve traveled, I have briefly seen other universities and interact with their students. Traveling has made me even more grateful that I get to go to a university that encourages religious behavior. Specifically worshiping our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am currently studying mechanical engineering and what an opportunity it is to learn about Him and the complexities of engineering. Not only am I able to learn here, but prayer and devotion is brought into practices and performances by our Head Coach Jocelyn Allan who helps bring Christ into everything we do."

Greg Simonsen | BYU Cheer Squad


While at Adam Ondi Ahman, the group shared a special experience as sophomore Sawyer Whipperman opened her mission call, telling her where she would be assigned to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sawyer will spend 18 months as a missionary in the Quezon City Philippines Mission, speaking Tagalog.

“The decision to serve a mission was a difficult one for me. Leaving behind cheer, my friends and the progress toward a mechanical engineering degree is something I really struggled with. Despite these challenges, I feel the guiding hand of the Lord in my life and and inner peace that I am making the right decision to put all of those aspects of my life on hold for 18 months and focus on my relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ and bringing others to Him through His gospel. I cannot wait to go to the Philippines and serve and share my love and His love with the people there. I am so excited for this new experience, and I know the Lord will bless me for sacrificing other things in my life to serve Him.”

Sawyer Whipperman | BYU Cheer Squad


An impromptu opportunity to provide service came as the team was en route to the Far West Temple site and members of the cheer squad spotted a man trying to rake leaves in his yard while in a wheelchair. The team decided to stop their van, hopped out and asked the man if they could help. The 13 members of the cheer squad proceeded to help rake the leaves and made quick work of a project that would’ve taken this man hours.

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"BYU Cheer has been a blessing in my life. Serving this elderly man struggling to rake his lawn was an absolute highlight of an incredible week. My teammates and coach happily jump up to help whenever needed and that is an amazing example to me. Being on BYU Cheer allows me to do what I love while doing my best to represent and spread God's love."

Caroline Howard | BYU Cheer Squad

"Being part of this BYU Cheer Squad has been truly remarkable. The opportunities and experiences we’ve been able to be a part of as we cheer on the Cougs are unforgettable. This team has always felt special, and our trip to Kansas City helped solidify that thought as I watched my teammates spread God's love through acts of service. I am both proud and grateful to be a part of such an amazing program."

Charly Richins | BYU Cheer Squad

Up next for the BYU Cheer Squad will be cheering on the men's basketball team in the NCAA Tournament, starting this Thursday in Omaha, Nebraska. The Cheer Squad will then be off to compete at the NCA College Cheerleading Nationals, starting April 9 in Daytona, Florida. The team will compete in teh D1A Advanced Small Co-Ed Division and the Gameday Division.