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Student Support for Penn State Sports

Penn State is known as a football town, and student support for that sport is tremendous. However, several other Penn State sports have been receiving attention this year in the form of supporters’ groups, including Russ’ Rowdies for women’s volleyball and Hertzog’s Hooligans for men’s soccer.

I have observed both groups, and I have been able to talk to Brian Wrobel, the creator of Hertzog’s Hooligans. Here is some information about both and reasons why you should take part in these student sections.

The sport/crowd: Russ’ Rowdies is a student group that began this year to support the women’s volleyball team. The name comes from coach Russ Rose. Crowds for women’s volleyball are generally large and fill a good portion of Rec Hall. The benefit of the large crowd means that there is plenty of noise to disrupt the opposing team. The one drawback to Rec Hall and the large crowds is that it can get pretty hot during the games.

Hertzog’s Hooligans was formed by Brian Wrobel to support the men’s soccer team (the Collegian did a story on Wrobel. Note: His name is Wrobel, not Wrodel). The name come from junior forward Corey Hertzog. “I was high-school best friends with Corey. I did it there [his high school]…and I wanted to make sure there is student support here at Penn State,” Wrobel said.

The crowds at men’s soccer games vary along with the opponent. UMBC drew a very small crowd, whereas Ohio State drew a very large one. The benefits of the soccer matches are fast-paced action and being very close to the field. The drawbacks include the chance of very cold weather and variable crowd size.

The group/chants/songs: Both groups do various Penn State cheers, so I will highlight some things that make them different.

Russ’ Rowdies do some fun things while the opposing team is being announced. One match, the entire section turned their backs. In another, each member of the group had a section of a newspaper that they pretended to read during the announcements. During the match, the band helps out the student section by yelling “bounce” when the opposing server bounces the ball.

Hertzog’s Hooligans have the advantage of being able to chant or sing at any point during the game. One of their songs goes, “All we need is a decent referee,” to the tune of Yellow Submarine by The Beatles. The group also picks out players and yells their name whenever they come near to the stands.

Why you should go: Our women’s volleyball team is very good, and the team has won 86 straight home matches. If that is not enticement enough, the Russ’ Rowdies have a great deal of fun and the band is always great. The match will always be worthwhile.

For the Hertzog’s Hooligans, Wrobel said, “It’s just a blast!”

The Hooligans really do make an impression on opposing players, and the soccer team loves them. The Hooligans take part in the pre-game huddle, and members of the team have even given the Hooligans free pizzas. They are loud, proud and enjoy every minute of the game.

The ultimate conclusion is that both groups provide a great experience and plenty of fun. Plus, neither sport really conflicts with football games. So, my recommendation is to go out and enjoy some other sports while you are here at Penn State, whether it is on your own or with one of these great supporters’ groups. You will not regret it!

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About the Author

Michael Berton

I grew up in a Philly suburb, then moved to a different one. I am now at Penn State, where I can actually sate my giant appetite for sports. Other than writing, I also play the cello in the Penn State Philharmonic.

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