Esprit de Corps commanding officer trades straight face for game face
Shane Wescott of North Andover, Massachusetts, a senior majoring in geosciences in the College of Science at Virginia Tech and member of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, is incredibly passionate about two things: the United States Marine Corps and Hokie football.
The newly formed Esprit de Corps cadet group provides an avenue for Westcott to combine these passions at Virginia Tech football games.
Due, in part, to Wescott’s leadership, paired with collaborations with the athletic department, Esprit de Corps epitomizes enthusiasm, providing strong student sections on both ends of Lane Stadium.
“The excitement of the Corps encourages the team during game day,” said Kyshoen Jarrett, of Tannersville, Pennsylvania, a senior majoring in human development in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Science and a member of the Virginia Tech football team. “Seeing the Esprit de Corps dancing on the Jumbotron—considering I’m a dancer on the field sometimes—is really cool. Receiving the high energy from the Corps of Cadets allows us to play at a high energy, too.”
Esprit de Corps is a team of 12 Corps of Cadets members whose goal is to ignite excitement in corps members attending football games. Through cheers in unison, distracting waves during field goals, push-up patrols, and more, Esprit de Corps mirrors the intensity of the North End Zone in the corps-filled South End Zone.
“The corps has always been a vocal supporter of Virginia Tech athletics and, in particular, the football team. Esprit de Corps has helped to take that to another level,” stated Commandant of Cadets Major General Randy Fullhart. “The cadets’ enthusiasm is helping to set the bar for everyone.”
Eight yelling cadets lead cheers from the field, while the other members hype the crowd from the stands. The members assigned to the stands act as “Motivators,” modeled after the “Smack Patrol” at The United States Military Academy at West Point, as they mingle through the crowd to encourage participation. The team utilizes “hat tricks” that originated decades ago with former cadets, in which cadets strategically hold up their hats to create a “VT” and other visual cheers.
The Virginia Tech spirit squads prepared Esprit de Corps for the football season through weekly practices and meetings. Because Esprit de Corps is not an official Virginia Tech team, they have some flexibility during the games but do work in concert with the spirit squads for certain cheers.
“We can’t do any acrobatics, but the spontaneity of our cheers is the fun part,” said Wescott. “The football games can always use some more old-fashioned motivation and fun along with routine spirit activities.”
In addition to several leadership roles within the Corps of Cadets, Wescott also is the record holder for the Officer Candidate School obstacle course at Marine Corps Base Quantico and an organizer of the Corps of Cadets Military Ball. Also a dean's list student, Wescott will be commissioned into the United States Marine Corps following graduation this spring.
Trading his straight face, unyielding expression for robust enthusiasm, Wescott has mastered balancing his hectic schedule with enjoying the team commitment.
'Wescott is someone who is hard to replace," said Cadet Rachel Daniels of Chester, Virginia, a sophomore majoring in animal and poultry sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "His presence on the team and in the corps is so influential that, without him, this team wouldn’t be what it is today. Although he seems like he’s all serious all the time, when he gets in his Esprit-mode, he’s just a big goofball.”
"Wescott was quick to add, “As soon as I step off the field, it’s right back to business as usual.”
Written by Holly Paulette.
Cadet Shane Wescott balances leadership roles within the corps with his new role as commanding officer of Esprit de Corps.