September 30, 2009
Alfie Gabriel Campbell '41 and Lance Shreffler '48 led current and former College of Wooster cheerleaders in the "Locomotive" cheer during the Scot football team's 26-7 Homecoming victory over Denison on Sept. 26.
WOOSTER, Ohio - Alfie Gabriel Campbell isn't bashful when it comes to cheering for her alma mater. Neither is Lance Shreffler or Vivian Douglas Smith. The ageless trio returned to the sidelines Saturday to cheer for the Scot football team as it hosted North Coast Athletic Conference rival Denison on homecoming weekend. Despite intermittent rain and unseasonably cool temperatures, Campbell, a 90-year old former Presbyterian missionary from Wooster; Shreffler, an 87-year-old retired educator from Columbus; and Smith, an 84-year old writer and drama specialist from Falls Church, Va., joined nine other former cheerleaders in demonstrating that school spirit never goes out of style.
Campbell first arrived on campus in 1937, and was disappointed to learn that cheerleading
was for men only. "I didn't think it was right, so I fought to have women included," said Campbell, who majored in sociology and minored in physical education. She must have made a persuasive argument because women were granted access that fall, and Campbell became Wooster's first female cheerleader.
Shreffler made his way to campus in 1941 and cheered for two years because "it looked like fun," but as World War II escalated, he was called on to serve in Europe. He returned in 1946, but by then he had several other roles, including that of president of the student body and headwaiter in one of the dining halls.
When Smith came to Wooster in 1943, there were very few men on campus, so she became part of Wooster's first all-female cheerleading squad. She cheered for two years, but was forced by the speech department to give it up because she kept losing her voice.
Those voices remained silent for more than 60 years, but on Saturday, they woke up the echoes and cheered their team to a 27-6 victory. No, they didn't do any pyramids or back flips, but they did lead the "locomotive" a famous century-old cheer that sounds like a train engine because it starts slowly and gradually picks up speed.
And come to think of it, maybe their cheer helped to "derail" Denison.
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