Chase Ritter went from holding cheerleaders to holding the line for Auburn Football in 2015.
Ritter, junior in biosystems engineering, cheered with Auburn University from 2014-2015 after trying out for the position on a whim.
Ritter wrestled and played football and baseball in high school, but cheer never came to mind when considering new sports.
Ritter had no prior experience in cheer when he began school at Auburn, but was quickly talked into turning in an application after assisting his friends while they practiced for cheer tryouts.
"I had friends that needed help stunting while they were practicing for tryouts and they said, 'Chase, you can at least throw me up in the air,' so I started with that," Ritter said. "Eventually they just asked me to do it with them."
Ritter didn't turn in his cheerleading application until the last minute and hadn't told a single person outside of others who were trying out that he was going for a position on the team.
"My parents didn't find out that I had made the team until it got posted on Facebook," Ritter said.
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Ritter said his dad was surprised, but supportive.
Ritter said cheering was very worthwhile due to the amount of services they were able to perform. Ritter said the cheer team is very involved on campus and they were welcomed into schools around the community.
"I really got to see all the aspects of the 'Auburn Family,'" Ritter said.
Ritter's favorite memories from cheering were the road trips with the team.
"We got to hang out all the time, go different places, see all the stadiums and travel around," Ritter said.
For most of the games, each cheerleader has a partner and typically those partners stay the same throughout the year. Ritter's cheer partner was Carrie Ann Cochran.
"I had a great partner, really," Ritter said. "She was a lot of fun."
Ritter said he loves playing football, but there were good times and great experiences with the cheerleaders that he doesn't forget.
"Whenever we go through Tiger Walk, I would get mauled at the end, because that's where they all stood," Ritter said. "They were all so excited and it was really good to see them all out there again."
Ritter said he didn't consider any other schools and has wanted to play for Auburn from the beginning of his college search.
“Football has always been something I’ve loved and wanted to do to begin with,” Ritter said.
“I didn’t know you could try out for football. But, I had a buddy who was trying to walk-on as well and he talked me into helping him out with tryouts and it just worked out.”
Ritter thoroughly enjoyed A-Day and finds the general camaraderie of the team welcoming.
Ritter said the difference between early-age ball and college ball is not the size, but the speed.
“Everyone is big here, but everyone is also fast,” Ritter said. “In every way you can think of.”
Ritter said there were correlations between the two sports, despite their polar-opposite appearances.
“Sports cross over into any other sport,” Ritter said. “There are some similarities and some serious differences. There is a cross-over in how you shoot your hips through to get power, skills like that.”
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